Denmark's Leo Pharma and its US partner GTC Biotherapeutics have announced that the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) has recommended an approval of ATryn, a therapeutic protein for the treatment of hereditary antithrombin deficiency in people undergoing surgery. If approval is given, ATryn will become the world's first approved drug produced in transgenetic animals.
GTC Biotherapeutics is one of the world's leading companies in the development and production of therapeutic proteins via goat-based transgenetic technology. Lars Olsen, deputy research director of Leo Pharma explains: "We have programmed a goat to produce a certain protein, antitrombin III, which is excreted in the milk, from which we extract the protein."
Lars Olsen says it is a breakthrough: "Up to now, the protein has been extracted from donor blood, and requires 20,000 donor portions to extract one kilo. One goat can produce that," he says. The method used in goats has so far only been approved for the antithrombin protein, but it is likely that it will be used for a number of other biological drugs.
In 2005, Leo Pharma and GTC Biotherapeutics entered a development and marketing agreement for Europe, Canada and the Middle East regarding ATryn. The news was reported by national daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten and on Leo Pharma's website.
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