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GEN News Highlights : Dec 16, 2011

Renova to Develop Transgenic Rabbits for Pharming’s Recombinant FVIII Program

Maryland firm announced birth of rhFVII transgenic rabbits at Chinese subsidiary.

Pharming inked a service agreement with Renova Life through which the latter will develop founder transgenic rabbits to enable Pharming to start breeding animals for commercial production of recombinant protein products. The first protein to be expressed in the rabbits will be recombinant human Factor VIII (rhFVIII) for the treatment of hemophilia A.

Transgenic rabbit specialist Renova recently reported the birth of rhFVIII transgenic rabbits at its Chinese subsidiary, Lannuo Biotechnologies, and Pharming will build on this achievement by using its rabbit platform for producing recombinant human proteins in transgenic rabbits for the rhFVIII program. “Pharming is pleased to have taken this first step towards developing recombinant transgenic Factor VIII,” comments Bruno Biannetti, Pharming COO. “This agreement is in line with Pharming’s stated strategy of leveraging the embedded value of our proprietary transgenic platform through licensing and co-development agreements.”

Pharming’s lead recombinant human C2 inhibitor protein, Ruconest® (Rhucin® outside the EU), was approved by the European Commission in October 28 for the treatment of acute attacks of Hereditary Angioedema (HAE). The protein, produced in the milk of transgenic rabbits, is undergoing late-stage development in the U.S., and is also being evaluated for the potential treatment of antibody mediated rejection, delayed graft function, and ischemic reperfusion injury.

Renova specializes in transgenic rabbit production via conventional DNA or RNA microinjection methods. The firm is also developing bioreactor systems for the production of human recombinant protein through rabbit mammary glands, and novel disease models for a range of diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, retinal degeneration, viral infection, cancer, and HIV.