US-based contract research organisation Charles River Laboratories (CRL) International has signed an exclusive, long-term marketing and distribution agreement with Lexington, Kentucky-based Transposagen Biopharmaceuticals for two of the latter’s research models.

Transposagen specialises in genetically engineered rat models, and the agreement makes CRL the exclusive global provider of Transposagen’s p53 and Bcrp TGEM Knockout Rat Models, as well as associated downstream services that employ these models. 

The two companies have also agreed on a research and development collaboration, whereby scientific management from CRL and Transposagen will “hold technical discussions and co-operatively work towards the creation of select, new genetically modified rat models”, Charles River noted.

As CRL explained, the p53 TGEM Knockout Rat Model is expected to be a valuable tool in oncology research, as the Tp53 (tumor protein 53) gene is believed to be the most commonly mutated gene in human cancers. The p53 TGEM Knockout Rat Model is also the only fully phenotyped p53 knockout rat model commercially available, it added. 

The Bcrp TGEM Knockout Rat Model omits expression of the drug transporter Bcrp (breast cancer resistance protein 1 or Abcg2) gene, which plays a role in multi-drug resistance with cancer therapy and in the uptake of drugs to cells, as well as fetal protection during pregnancy, CRL pointed out. 

Transposagen’s novel rat models are expected to play a pivotal role in unwinding the complex function of both Tp53 and Bcrp genes in disease progression and treatment. They also provide new opportunities to examine the pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and efficacy, as well as the carcinogenicity and other potential toxicities, of novel therapeutics, CRL said.

“Knockout rat models are a new and emerging tool in drug discovery and development, and Transposagen’s p53 and Bcrp TGEM Knockout Rat Models are expected to become widely accepted for research in oncology and other therapeutic areas,” commented Dr Iva Morse, corporate vice president, Global Research Model Services at Charles River Laboratories International.