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CRL expands cancer model offering with p53 and BCrp rats

By Gareth Macdonald , 14-Oct-2010
Last updated on 04-Mar-2011 at 10:48 GMT

Charles River Laboratories (CRL) has added two new exclusive knockout rats to its preclinical development offering in deal with Transposagen Biopharmaceuticals.

The models in question, p53 and Bcrp models, lack genes throught to play a role in cancer progression and are intended for preclinical drug development, specifically for pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic, efficacy and carcinogenicity analysis.

The deal, which will see the firms collaborate on the development of new models, further strengthens CRL’s presence in the research animals sector in which, according to research by Morningstar, the contract research organisation (CRO) already holds a 50 per cent market share.

Iva Morse VP of global research model Services at CRL said: “Knockout rat models are a new and emerging tool in drug discovery and development,” and predicted that they will become widely accepted for research in oncology and other therapeutic areas.

P53 demand

The p53 model, which was launched in April, looks like being the most significant addition to CRL’s knockout rat portfolio given that, according to Transposagen, the gene may be involved in as many as 50 per cent of all human tumours.

Speaking earlier this year Transposagen CEO Eric Ostertag suggested that: “A rat model lacking the function of this important gene will be a valuable tool for cancer biology and xenotransplantation studies.”

The Kentucky-headquartered firm also claim that their p53 line is the only fully “phenotyped” model to be commercially available, which is likely to be a boost for CRL given the exclusivity of its license and the pharma industry’s focus on oncology.

Bcrp worlwide

The Bcrp model, at first, appears to offer a narrower range of development opportunities in terms of potential targets as it is primarily involved in the development of resistance to breast cancer therapies.

However, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women, representing around 16 per cent of all cases, and rates are increasing worldwide.

This makes it likely that Bcrp, and other effective models of the disease, are likely to be in demand from drugmakers hoping to develop treatments for this significant patient population.

Furthermore the protein encoded by Bcrp is involved in the uptake of drugs by cells, meaning that there may be other applications emerge knowledge about this type opf mechanism increases.

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