Firm aims to better mimic later stages of disease.

Transposagen Biopharmaceuticals won $412,628 in SBIR funding to support the development of a rat model of human colorectal cancer. $312,628 of the funding will come from the NCI. Another $100,000 has been pledged by Kentucky’s KY Cabinet for Economic Development’s Department of Commercialization and Innovation (DCI).

The company has received grant funding of over $4.1 million since 2005, including previous SBIR awards from the NIH and DCI.

“Existing mouse models for colorectal cancer do not accurately model this human disease,” comments Eric Ostertag, Transposagen CEO. “Transposagen’s rat models should better mimic later stages of this cancer in humans and should more closely express the molecular, cellular, and pathologic characteristics of the disease.”

Transposagen claims it currently offers about 95% of the world’s existing knockout rat inventory. The firm has pioneered the use of mobile DNA technology including DNA transposons Sleeping Beauty and piggyBac to generate insertional mutations in the rat germline. Several rat stem cell technologies are now available that can be combined synergistically with mobile DNA technology, and Transposagen states this capability represents by far the most cost-effective method to create knockout rat lines.

Over 100 unique knockout rat lines are currently available, and Transposagen’s ultimate goal is to create 30,000 unique TKO™ Knockout Rat Models, one corresponding to each gene in the rat genome. The TKO Knockout Rat Models include a single gene trap insertion created using mobile DNA technology. 

Also offered are TGEM™ Rat Models, with a genetic mutation not created by a gene trap insertion. Models under development include those that comprise added genetic material and more refined genetic manipulations such as conditional mutations and knock-ins.

Last week Transposagen announced signing a global marketing and distribution agreement with animal model and service provider Taconic, which will market and distribute animal models produced by Transposagen.

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