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GEN News Highlights : Jan 23, 2007

Interferon Alpha-2a Expressed in Eggs

OVA™ system used to accomplish this milestone.

Viragen along with its partners in the field of avian transgenics, Roslin Institute and Oxford Biomedica, report the the successful expression of human interferon alpha-2a in the whites of eggs laid by transgenic hens using the OVA™ system.

According to Viragen, this is the third therapeutic protein expressed thus far in a series of proof-of-principle studies, which aim to develop the OVA system as a large-scale biomanufacturing alternative for  expressing many types of therapeutic proteins. Interferon alpha-2a is the active ingredient in Roche’s Roferon®-A, approved for the treatment of certain chronic infectious diseases and cancers.

The team previously demonstrated that OVA can repeatedly target expression to the oviduct and incorporation in the egg, rather than being expressed throughout the bird. They also showed that the characteristic of protein drug expression is able to be passed to subsequent generations. This combination of features is essential for a viable and cost-competitive manufacturing system, notes vp and managing director of Viragen, Scotland, Karen Jervis.

Viragen previously reported OVA-expression of a humanized Mab being developed for advanced malignant melanoma and interferon beta-1a, which is currently marketed under two competing brand names for the treatment of MS, as Avonex® (Biogen Idec) and Rebif® (Serono).

Viragen holds the worldwide exclusive license to commercialize Avian Transgenic Technology as granted by Roslin Institute.