ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA – Recombinetics, a global biotechnology leader in gene editing of livestock for human therapeutics and food production
applications, has been awarded a $358,338 Phase I Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health (NIH) to create a genetically accurate porcine model of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
Recombinetics develops precise swine models that replicate human congenital and progressive diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. The Company’s proprietary pig models are used in preclinical animal trials that provide a pathway to patient cures by enabling the development of safe and effective drugs and medical devices, at lower costs.
The AD model being developed by Recombinetics will accelerate the ability to identify preclinical therapeutic and diagnostic methods for early detection and treatments to prevent, halt, and reverse the progression of what is now an incurable, unpreventable neurodegenerative disease.
“With millions of lives at stake and an aging population, there’s a critical need to find methods of early detection and treatments for Alzheimer’s
patients,” said Scott Fahrenkrug, Recombinetics’ Executive Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer.
“Our model will better reflect the human condition and give pharmaceutical researchers a more accurate platform to test therapies that could benefit patients suffering from or at-risk for Alzheimer’s.”
Researchers are currently limited by overly simplified disease models, mostly rodents, that fail to reflect the AD pathology in humans, and therefore fail to enable disease detection and treatment. Recombinetics’ model to simulate AD in swine — an animal with 95% similarity to humans anatomically, genetically, histologically, metabolically, physiologically and cognitively – provides a more precise and accurate model for monitoring brain and behavioral function during the course of the disease and creates a more reliable model to test treatments.
Recombinetics’ Senior Scientist, Adrienne Watson, is the Principal Investigator awarded the NIH competitive grant. She added, “Recombinetics’ proprietary advances in gene editing enable us to optimize disease models to better replicate human disease conditions in animals. Additionally, the size of the swine we use, a minipig, allows for imaging in human MRI equipment to detect disease pathology in the brain. Our swine models serve as proxies for human patients in preclinical research and trials.”
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, this neurodegenerative disease affects 47 million people worldwide, including 5.4 million Americans currently living with the disease. In 2016, Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost the US $236 billion. Unless something is done, in 2050, Alzheimer’s is projected to to cost $1.1 trillion.