Bayer licenses 'humanised' mice

Related tags Subsidiary Biology Dna

German drug major Bayer has entered into a collaboration with
Artemis Pharmaceuticals focusing on the development of
genetically-engineered mice that are designed to have human-like
biology. The ArteMice will be used in Bayer's drug discovery
programmes for gene function analysis as well as for the testing of
novel drug candidates.

The ArteMice are created by replacing a mouse gene with its human counterpart. In this way, Artemis can develop animal model systems that are closer to human biology and, as a consequence, are more likely to correctly identify whether a drug affects a specific human target or has toxicity. The goal is that they can be used early on in the drug discovery process in order to help the selection of promising candidates for further development.

Peter Stadler, general manager of Artemis, said that Bayer's decision to license the technology is a validation of the value of using bespoke humanised mice in drug research. "The ArteMice technology is not only reliable and precise, but also efficient and rapid,"​ he noted.

The benefits of the ArteMice are that they can provide a rapid means of getting around one of the primary bottlenecks in drug discovery, the validation of drug targets. The mice can be designed so that a target gene is either knocked out or over-expressed and the company claims that a customised mouse can be taken from the planning board to live, reproducible animals in 6-8 months.

Using traditional techniques it takes 18-24 months to create knockout mice, according to the company, and often only 5 per cent of the animals will carry the desired mutation. In contrast, Artemis claims a success rate of 100 per cent.

Based in Cologne, Artemis​ was founded in 1998 and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Exelixis of South San Francisco, US.

Related topics Preclinical Research

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