FDA Approves Drug Made From Gene-Tweaked Goats

Landmark decision could signal start of large-scale 'pharming' for drugs
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2009 7:07 AM CST
Bioengineered goats on GTC's Massachusetts farm.   (Photo: GTC Biotherapeutics)
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(Newser) – An FDA decision to approve a drug made from genetically engineered goats is being called a milestone decision likely to lead to many more "pharm animals," the Boston Globe reports. Biotech firm GTC says the milk from a single genetically modified goat can produce as much of the human anti-bloodclotting protein antithrombin in a year as 90,000 blood donations.

Researchers say animals could someday be used to produce many more drugs in their blood, milk and urine, and will be especially useful in cultivating large molecules difficult to produce with bacteria. Activists question the ethics of the technique and fear that "pharming" may carry unforeseen health and environmental risks. The FDA says it is confident that the goats' products will not enter the food supply.