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Biotech chickens lay golden egg for UK\'s Biomedica

Biotech chickens lay golden egg for UK\ s Biomedica
LONDON - Shares in Oxford Biomedica (OXB.L: Quote, Profile, Research) rose eight percent this week as the British biotech firm clinched a deal that will see its LentiVector gene technology used in the production of transgenic chickens.

Financial details were not disclosed but Biomedica will receive an upfront fee and milestone payments after licensing the know-how to U.S. partner Viragen (VRA.A: Quote, Profile, Research) , which aims to make protein-based drugs in the eggs of genetically modified chickens.

The companies reported last month that they had managed to generate transgenic chicken lines with an efficiency of the order of 10- to 100-fold higher than any previously published method.

Several biotech groups are working on new ways to produce antibodies and other complex protein drugs in milk, eggs or farm crops, as a cheap alternative to making them from cell cultures in stainless steel vats.

Biomedica shares were up 1.5 pence, or 8.3 percent, at 19.5p by 0840 GMT.

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