Alpha Genesis providing purpose-bred macaques for vaccine development
After recently undergoing a significant expansion in the past 18 months with a more than $2m investment allocated to infrastructure, the Alpha Genesis center now has an Indonesian primate colony, which will be maintained at its South Carolina site.
Greg Westergaard, CEO of Alpha Genesis explained that the recent expansion was completed to allow for selected breeding of macaques with known genetic characteristics, specifically known Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) profiles.
“The new colony was made possible by the expansion, specifically the availability of improved facilities, and the incorporation of directed breeding expertise in to the profile of our primate research model offerings,” Westergaard told us.
Macaque monkeys are frequently used in medical research modeling an array of human health issues. In fact, Alpha Genesis recently invested $2m into its European operations as the world demand for vaccine development has increased.
Westergaard said that by purpose breeding Indonesian-origin macaques in the US, Alpha Genesis “has successfully created a primate model population with relatively narrow and well-defined genetic diversity, facilitating greatly improved reproducibility in study outcomes.”
Through initiating the sourcing of purpose-bred macaques Alpha Genesis states it is trying to stay competitive in the animal research stage. In countries like China, researchers import cynomolgus macaques from multiple countries to inter-breed them to create an export population of genetically mixed animals, said Westergaard.
But, Westergaard explained that the Chinese researchers have not made inter-bred animals available outside of China and it has been difficult for US-based investigators to stay competitive in the world research stage using genetically random populations of imported primates.
Therefore, the strategy of bringing in purpose-bred Indonesian-origin cynomologus macaques is the company’s solution for US-investigators to stay competitive in non-human primate research.
The decision to import Inodensian cynologus macaque was a specific choice, Westergaard said. He explained that the Indonesian-origin cynomologus macaques can be an alternative model for infectious disease research instead of the Indian Rhesus macaque since they have DNA and peptide bonding similarities. Indian Rhesus macaques are primarily used in HIV research.