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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

GTC Agreement Takes Aim At MS

Framingham-based GTC Biotherapeutics Inc. now has the rights to develop and commercialize a protein that could be used to treat multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases.

The protein is recombinant human alpha-fetoprotein (rhAFP) and it has been in development by Cambridge-based Merrimack Pharmaceuticals in the milk of genetically modified goats at GTC's facilities. Under the new agreement, GTC will receive enough rhAFP from Merrimack for use in clinical studies and will assume control of the goats.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Human AFP is a blood protein produced in very high levels in women during pregnancy. It plays a role in strengthening women's immune systems in order to protect gestating fetuses. Apart from pregnancy, AFP is produced in very low levels.

GTC plans to study whether human AFP produced by genetically modified goats can treat autoimmune diseases multiple sclerosis and myasthenia gravis.

source: WBJournal

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