Recombinetics announces the receipt of two Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant awards from the National Institutes of Health totaling more than $700,000. The first grant from the National Institute on Aging is to develop a genetically accurate swine model of Alzheimer’s disease. The second grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, is to develop a swine model of Neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2), a rare genetic disorder that causes benign tumors in the nervous system. Both models aim to accelerate medical research and therefore lower the development costs of therapeutics and diagnostics.

“With millions of lives at stake, there’s a critical need to speed up discoveries that lead to better outcomes for patients,” says Scott Fahrenkrug, RCI’s Executive Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer. “Our humanized swine models precisely emulate human disease at both the genetic and physiological levels and serve as surrogates for preclinical and translational research. Our “Patient Models” will revolutionize the development of diagnostics and therapeutics to treat patients earlier, sometimes even before the onset of disease.”

Currently, medical research is limited by overly simplified, mostly rodent, disease models that fail to recapitulate human disease conditions. RCI uses swine due to their similarities to humans anatomically, genetically, histologically, metabolically, physiologically and cognitively, making subtle changes in behavior that indicate disease progression, easier to detect.
“The size of the swine species we use is similar to the size of humans, which allows us to use human MRI equipment to detect disease pathology in the brain,” says Recombinetics’ Senior Scientist, Adrienne Watson, Principal Investigator on these NIH competitive grants. “Our swine models can also serve as proxies for human patients, which is particularly important for orphan disease research with small patient populations that make it nearly impossible to recruit enough patients for clinical trials.”