Mouse and rat model firm Taconic and tau oligomer-focused company Oligomerix are putting their heads together to evaluate the Taconic tau mouse model as a tool for preclinical testing of compounds for Alzheimer’s disease. The model, which is used in neurodegenerative disease research and is also known as the JNPL3 mouse, is part of the Taconic Transgenic Models™ (TTM™) portfolio of in-licensed transgenic models.

Taconic’s tau mouse model carries the transgene for the human mutation of tau, the microtubule-associated protein. Oligomerix is testing the hypothesis that accumulation of the tau protein—specifically tau oligomerization—is linked with Alzheimer’s disease progression and therefore a good potential target for developing new therapeutics; the company will use Taconic’s model to develop assays to detect tau oligomers and evaluate the model’s utility in preclinical testing using reference compounds already screened in cell assays. 

Oligomerix’ president and CEO James Moe, Ph.D., said in a statement that using the firm’s small molecule tool compounds to validate target engagement and mode of action in vivo is an important milestone for its tau oligomer formation inhibitor program. “As we continue pursuit of discovery and development of novel therapeutics for Alzheimer’s disease and other tauopathies, we are also interested in the future use of this model to enable Oligomerix to carry out its downstream lead candidate in vivo screening, optimization, and selection of candidates for IND enabling studies,” he added.

Taconic’s mice appear to have garnered recent interest with regard to other CNS diseases as well: Last month, Taconic teamed up with the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and Thomas Jefferson University to create, validate, and distribute a genetically engineered rat with fluorescent dopamine-producing neurons that are affected in Parkinson’s disease. The participants say this partnership provides easy and open access to this rat model, making it available to researchers at a low cost.

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