Taconic Biosciences to Distribute Critical COVID-19 Mouse Model

Signs Exclusive Agreement with University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston to Access Humanized ACE2 Mouse Model

Rensselaer, NY — June 22, 2020 - Taconic Biosciences, a global leader in providing drug discovery animal model solutions, announces an exclusive agreement with the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) to distribute humanized ACE2 mice for coronavirus research.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, uses the ACE2 receptor to enter cells, causing infection. Due to differences between the mouse and human ACE2 receptors, normal laboratory mice cannot be infected with SARS-CoV2. Transgenic mice which express the human ACE2 receptor overcome this challenge and are critical for COVID-19 research and treatments.

Dr. Chien-Te Kent Tseng, professor at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and colleagues at UTMB generated humanized ACE2 mice as part of SARS virus (SARS-CoV) research in 2007 and characterized them in several scientific publications. After discovering that ACE2 was the receptor for the virus that causes COVID-19, these old mice now had new value. Taconic is combining Dr. Tseng's models and expertise with decades of successful mouse model commercialization to bring this resource to COVID-19 researchers.

"Taconic offered their assistance at a crucial moment, speeding up the timeline for developing these models. Combining our unique areas of expertise to advance COVID-19 research is a great example of how research institutions can partner with commercial organizations," said Sundeep Mattamana, executive director in the Office of Technology Transfer at UTMB. "Our office is committed to developing these relationships as a pathway to accelerate research and discoveries."

UTMB will use the hACE2 mice for studies within several internal laboratories and the Galveston National Laboratory, but also recognize the value to the broader scientific community. UTMB and Taconic signed an exclusive license for distribution of these models and efforts to scale up colonies are underway. Mice will be available to both for-profit and non-profit researchers, with Taconic subsidizing distribution to the latter. The agreement also includes UTMB's humanized DPP4 mouse, implicated as a possible co-receptor for SARS-CoV-2.

"Access to the right resources is critical to expedite COVID-19 research. Taconic is leveraging strengths in transgenic mouse production and global distribution to get accurate models into the hands of scientists studying COVID-19 treatment and vaccine development," said Michael Seiler, vice president of commercial models at Taconic. "The hACE2 and hDPP4 mouse models complement Taconic's extensive COVID-19 Toolkit," he added.

To learn more about hACE2 mice, hDPP4 mice or Taconic's Coronavirus Toolkit, please contact Taconic Bioscieces at 1-888-TACONIC (888-822-6642) in the US, +45 70 23 04 05 in Europe, or email info@taconic.com.

About Taconic Biosciences, Inc.
Taconic Biosciences is a fully-licensed, global leader in genetically engineered rodent models and services. Founded in 1952, Taconic provides the best animal solutions so that customers can acquire, custom generate, breed, precondition, test, and distribute valuable research models worldwide. Specialists in genetically engineered mouse and rat models, microbiome, immuno-oncology mouse models, and integrated model design and breeding services, Taconic operates three service laboratories and six breeding facilities in the U.S. and Europe, maintains distributor relationships in Asia, and has global shipping capabilities to provide animal models almost anywhere in the world.
About the University of Texas Medical Branch
Texas' first academic health center opened its doors in 1891 and today has four campuses, four health sciences schools, four institutes for advanced study, a research enterprise that includes one of only two national laboratories dedicated to the safe study of infectious threats to human health, a Level 1 Trauma Center and a health system offering a full range of primary and specialized medical services throughout the Texas Gulf Coast region. UTMB is an institution in the University of Texas System and a member of the Texas Medical Center.
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