Taconic, a leading global provider of research models and services, and Transposagen Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. (Transposagen), the worldwide leader in genetically modified rats, announced today that they have entered into a non-exclusive marketing and distribution agreement. Under the agreement, Taconic will produce and distribute Transposagen's FatRat™.
The FatRat™ is Transposagen's Mc4r TGEM™ Rat Model, which has a mutation in the melanocortin 4 receptor (Mc4r), the gene most commonly involved in monogenic human obesity. Mc4r is normally activated by leptin, a protein produced by another obesity gene, which results in an inhibition in feeding and a reduction in the ability to store calories as fat. However, the FatRat™, as well as humans with mutations in Mc4r, lacks the satiation that normally occurs with eating. In a study comparing the eating habits of humans with Mc4r mutations to those without Mc4r mutations, all Mc4r deficient participants reported "binge eating" while only 14.2% who lack the mutation reported such eating behavior (1). The Mc4r TGEM™ Rat Model, develops obesity due to hyperphagia (overeating), as well as hyperinsulinemia and elevated leptin levels.
The Mc4r model will be available for purchase directly from Taconic in 2011. "Taconic brings high quality standards and has a worldwide distribution network. Taconic will produce the model to excellent health standards and in sufficient quantities for research use," says Jack Crawford, Business Development Manager at Transposagen. "Our collaborators and customers are currently using the FatRat™ Model in a wide variety of obesity studies, from discovering new therapeutic compounds to developing improved bariatric surgery techniques," added Mr. Crawford.
"Our FatRat™ Model, developed and characterized in collaboration with Dr. Edwin Cuppen's laboratory at the Hubrecht Institute, is an example of the new and sophisticated animal models of human disease that are now available (2)," said Dr. Eric Ostertag, the President and CEO of Transposagen. "Obesity is now a global epidemic, with an estimated 300 million people worldwide who fit the medical definition of obese. The FatRat™ Model will allow researchers to better understand obesity in humans and begin to develop treatments to combat this epidemic."
"The FatRat™ is an excellent addition to Taconic's existing portfolio of mouse and rat models and will complement other obesity animal models, such as the Levin rat or the diet induced obese C57BL/6 mouse," said Paul Rounding, Senior Vice President & General Manager of Translational Models & Solutions, Taconic. "We are pleased to facilitate the distribution of relevant models such as the Mc4r knockout rat to our pharmaceutical, biotech and academic customers."