Viragen Reports Protein Expression Breakthrough in Avian Transgenics

May 23, 2007
BioPharm International Editors

Viragen, Inc. (Plantation, FL, www.viragen.com), and its collaborative partners in the field of avian transgenics-Roslin Institute (Scotland, UK, www.roslin.ac.uk) and (Oxford, UK, www.oxfordbiomedica.co.uk)-have announced a significant breakthrough in the development of the OVA system, an avian transgenic protein expression technology.

Viragen, Inc. (Plantation, FL, www.viragen.com), and its collaborative partners in the field of avian transgenics-Roslin Institute (Scotland, UK, www.roslin.ac.uk) and (Oxford, UK, www.oxfordbiomedica.co.uk)-have announced a significant breakthrough in the development of the OVA system, an avian transgenic protein expression technology. Viragen has reported that its researchers in Scotland and its collaborators at Roslin Institute have been able to significantly increase expression levels of interferon alpha-2a, a human protein often prescribed for the treatment of hepatitis C and certain malignant diseases, by at least 10-fold over previously reported results.

The OVA System uses lines of transgenic hens that have been engineered, using the LentiVector gene delivery system licensed from Oxford BioMedica, to produce a target protein in their eggs. In initial studies, the results of which were announced in January, expression levels of approximately 4 mg of interferon alpha per egg were achieved. Following further optimization using a modified proprietary regulatory sequence, the system’s output increased 10-fold. In the latest studies, each egg contained as much as 40 mg of interferon alpha, enough to treat up to 15 hepatitis C patients for a full year.

Viragen believes its technology can provide an efficient and economical alternative to traditional recombinant manufacturing techniques, particularly for difficult-to-manufacture proteins. “We have every reason to believe these results will translate to other high value therapeutic proteins,” said Dr. Karen Jervis, managing director of Viragen (Scotland) Ltd., in a published statement.