Sigma adds “wild type” rodents to SAGE offering with Ace Animals deal

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Life Sciences provider Sigma Aldrich is to expand its preclinical research models offering with acquisition of rodent breeder Ace Animals.

The US firm said the deal, expected to complete shortly, will add a number of genetically unmodified, or “wild type,” rodent species to its range of knock-out and knock-in research animals.

New species will include Swiss Webster, Sprague Dawley, ICR, Balb-c, C57BL-6 and Cotton Rats, which are all well established in preclinical drug research.

Sigma Advanced Genetic Engineering (SAGE) Labs, the unit that will manage Ace’s operations, plans to combine the latter’s contract breeding capacity and expertise with its own SAGEspeed animal creation service.

Unit director Edward Weinstien said: “SAGE Labs will be in a better position to offer a greater number of models with the goal of helping researchers understand the functional significance of genes and their relationships to human diseases​.”

Ace’s Pennsylvania HQ is also driver for the takeover according to Sigma, who predicted that expanding its presence in of the US’ key research hubs will “greatly enhance distribution of SAGE Labs models​.”

Sigma’s preclinical animal models offering is based on the CompoZr Zinc Finger Nuclease (ZFN) platform, which was licensed for certain commercial applications from Sangamo BioSciences in 2007

The technology has been used by Sage to develop a catalog of knockout rat models of a variety of human disorders and for preclinical drug toxicology testing.

Pharmaceutical firms and contract research organisations (CRO) can buy the transgenic rodents for between $300 and $500 an animal or request the bespoke development of specific models via SAGEspeed.

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