Friday, 17 December 2010

BioFocus extends collaboration with Amgen into 2012

BioFocus announced today that it has extended its contract with Amgen for 2011 and 2012, with an expansion to include target discovery and validation services. Under the terms of the extended agreement, BioFocus will receive €2.0 M ($2.6 M) in research fees for the first year. Additionally, BioFocus is eligible to receive payments of access fees and success-based milestones.

The collaboration, which was initiated in 2002 and extended in 2006 and again in 2008, involves the identification of new molecules against various drug targets. Starting in 2011, the collaboration will involve the addition of BioFocus’ target discovery platform to deliver novel targets to support Amgen’s therapeutic programs.

“We are pleased to have delivered well in our long-standing collaboration with Amgen, resulting in an extension for the third time,” said Dr. Chris Newton, Senior VP Galapagos Services. “With each extension, Amgen has expanded the range of services provided by BioFocus, with target discovery being included this time around. We are very proud to win this opportunity to deliver high quality, innovative modes of action to Amgen.”


First 100 million+ compound 3D drug candidate design database

InhibOx Ltd, the specialist in novel and effective computational methods for drug discovery, today announces the launch of Scopius-5 - the world's largest currently available drug discovery screening database and the first system to pass 100 million compounds. Scopius-5 is a unique and powerful resource that will enable new levels of innovation and rigor to screening processes in drug discovery.

The Scopius-5 database platform stores many details of selected compounds, invaluable to those working in drug discovery. They include: multiple-conformation 3D models, shape and charge descriptors, property values and compound availability information, and/or synthetic route details. To ensure their usefulness in discovery projects, entries are filtered against a set of drug-likeness criteria - structural and physical properties known to be common to almost all pharmaceutical compounds.

Scopius-5 is the result of almost ten years research and investment by InhibOx, aimed to meet the needs of the pharmaceutical and biotech markets for a large, high-value, specialist database to support computer-aided drug discovery processes. Traditional high-throughput screening (HTS) has proved to be too hit-and-miss, too often; a USD 2 billion industry, which sees an average USD 1 million spend per project (1), with a less than 50 per cent success rate (2) at finding active leads. Its computational equivalent, virtual screening, if well-designed, should dramatically improve both the costs and hit rates, but too often fails because the data sets used are too restricted in the scope of their chemistry, being based on previous projects, covering different, narrow chemistry requirements. Scopius addresses this problem head on by providing true depth and diversity in its chemistry.

Early development of candidate drugs

CIT, the preclinical drug safety CRO based outside Paris, and Biomodels, the Boston-based service company offering tailor-made preclinical efficacy models, have announced the signature of an alliance agreement. Under the terms of this transatlantic agreement, the two companies will develop packages of integrated services covering the early development of candidate drugs and their passage into the development phase.

The synergy derived from this alliance will enable the two companies to provide their clients with a comprehensive and seamless program of pre-clinical drug development, as well as new high-content testing approaches. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

Short course on marketing in Asia Pacific at laboratory science show Pittcon 2011

The Scott Partnership, an independent PR consultancy, has been selected by the organisers of Pittcon 2011 to deliver a short-course entitled 'Marketing in Asia Pacific - A practical guide for managers'.

The course will focus on providing reliable marketing intelligence and guidance to improving communications in Asia Pacific. Lending tips and examples from proven successful campaigns, The Scott Partnership has been working with international clients for fourteen years, with over twenty five professionals working across Europe, North America and China. The programme will take place over half a day during Pittcon 2011 at the Georgia World Congress Centre, Georgia, Atlanta on 16 March 2011 from 1.00pm-5.00pm.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Flexible high throughput screening system

A new technical note from Agilent Automation Solutions describes a BioCel System that offers the flexibility to be adaptable to accommodate today's High Throughput Screening (HTS) assays as well as new protocols and hardware.

The variety of different assay protocols for HTS is increasing constantly. Today's automated systems need to be flexible and cleverly designed to accommodate a large number of different protocols without major delays or costs involved.

To prevent obsolescence, an automated system should be flexible enough to accommodate today's assays as well as new protocols and hardware. The BioCel System described in the new technical note includes a selection of liquid handlers and readers, and an active environmental control for the entire system. A multimode reader, bulk reagent dispensers, plate washer and the Agilent Vertical Pipetting Station allow assays to be run in 96-, 384- or 1536-format.

The active environmental control used by the Agilent BioCel System allows assays to be run at constant temperature (ambient up to 37°C), avoiding edge effects often caused by transport into and out of incubators. The high precision, low volume pipettor and the large plate storage capacity allow the compound plate bank to be run alongside the assay, adding the compounds on-the-fly. No prior assay plate generation is necessary and due to the low volume capacity of the Vertical Pipetting Station (200nL), DMSO concentrations in the assay are kept low.

For a copy of the new technical note please visit

Agilent Automation Solutions

Remote open access for biochemical analysis

At Laboratory Automation 2011 in Palm Springs (Jan 29 – Feb 2), TTP LabTech will present a range of posters covering its complete product range, including two demonstrating the novel applications of its LAB2LAB automated sample transport and management system and its mosquito nanoliter liquid handler.

Titled ‘Enabling remote open access for biochemical analysis of the future’, one poster describes the LAB2LAB system recently installed at Novartis (Horsham) as part of their Open Access initiative. By integrating with any analytical equipment, LAB2LAB increases analytical capacity, connecting scientists to any instrument, regardless of location. To see it in action, stop by booth 445 at Laboratory Automation and take part in our competition to win an iPad.

With additional posters being presented on the mosquito, its applications within assay miniaturisation and nanoliter hit-picking are fully explored. Furthermore, a top 10 pharma company will detail how it has integrated the mosquito nanopipetting technology into its compound management group.

TTP LabTech Ltd

New cobas b 123 POC blood gas analyser system

The new cobas b 123 POC system, the latest blood gas analyser from Roche due for launch in the UK and Ireland in February 2011, generated much interest among delegates at the recent 2010 UK Roche Symposium. Designed specifically to be used at the point of care (POC), the compact cobas b 123 is ideal for use in critical care units, emergency rooms and other POC settings. Easy to use and virtually maintenance free, it incorporates a number of important infection control features and ensures minimal downtime with reliable, clot-free operation.

Dr Thomas Vering, Head of the Roche Global Sensor Program, commented “Consolidation of important critical care tests on one system allows medical professionals in critical care and emergency settings to obtain rapid answers to a broad range of medical questions. The cobas b 123 is flexible and configurable to accommodate individual needs and, with its intuitive operation and excellent connectivity options, it is ideal for use at the point of care. This latest addition to our POC portfolio demonstrates our ongoing commitment and innovation in this important area.”

InGen BioSciences appoints Dr Isabelle Buckle new CEO

The InGen BioSciences Group, a developer and marketer of advanced in vitro diagnostic kits for clinical use, today announced that it has appointed Dr Isabelle Buckle as CEO.

Dr Buckle will have executive responsibilities for the Group’s two subsidiaries: InGen, a supplier of a large selection of high-performing reagents combined with platform analysis to roughly 750 customers in Europe; and InGen BioSciences, the group’s R&D facility focused on bringing innovative tests to market that are minimally invasive, fast, cost-effective, and clinically relevant.

Analysis of ethyl glucuronide in urine

Biotage, a supplier of tools and technology for analytical and medicinal chemistry, introduced a new sample preparation application note for the extraction of ethyl glucuronide (E and G) from urine by LC-MS.

E and G can be detected at very low levels and being a metabolite it is useful in distinguishing between ingested ethanol and that which is absorbed through the skin from ethanol containing products such as alcohol based hand washes. Rapid and reliable methods with robust extraction protocols are essential for analysis and quantitation of EtG from various matrices.

Electronic patient-reported outcome solutions

ERT, a provider of technology and services to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device industries,today announced the launch of its comprehensive suite of electronic patient-reported outcome (ePRO) solutions. As the ePRO market continues to grow, ePRO tools have increasingly become more sophisticated, with their development reflecting the diverse needs of sponsors and facilitating compliance by the patient. ERT now offers a broad range of proven modalities of technology, offering the ability to choose the best ePRO solution to suit the requirements of the trial, ensuring its accuracy and success.

Cartagenia software to automate CNV Atlas data acquisition

Cartagenia announced today that it has signed an agreement with the International Standards for Cytogenomic Arrays (ISCA) Consortium to set up an automated data acquisition pipeline based on Cartagenia’s BENCH data management solution.

The CNV Atlas project aims to build a database of abnormal regions of the genome - places where deletions or duplications will cause an overt phenotype. This atlas is built by leveraging large clinical data sets generated in the course of clinical care at ISCA consortium members. These data can subsequently be used to create a research resource for gene discovery related to human developmental disorders, and to build an invaluable clinical resource for learning about the clinical and public health impact of CNVs.

Maybridge Ro3 fragments generate hits in SPR screening of key protein targets

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc today announced that its Maybridge Ro3 Diversity Fragment Library has helped researchers validate an emerging technique for drug discovery that targets key protein receptors involved in a wide range of biological functions.

David Myszka, founder of Biosensor Tools LLC and director of the Center for Biomolecular Interaction Analysis at the University of Utah, used surface plasmon resonance (SPR) to screen small molecules (fragments) in the Maybridge Ro3 collection against stabilised G-Protein Coupled Receptors (GPCRs) provided by Heptares Therapeutics1. Several new classes of compounds were identified from the Ro3 library, which is accelerating drug discovery efforts around these receptors

Dr Myszka’s study demonstrated for the first time that fragment screening by SPR is an effective approach. It utilises the sensor surface to purify and concentrate solubilised tagged GPCRs and then characterise their binding activities with the fragments.

High-performance batch bioprocessing centrifuge system

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc today announced the launch of the new Thermo Scientific Sorvall RC BIOS centrifuge system for high-speed, high-volume batch bioprocessing applications.

The system integrates a six-litre Thermo Scientific Fiberlite carbon fiber rotor and true fit one-litre Thermo Scientific Nalgene bottles to achieve superior yields with faster processing time, making it ideal for bacterial and mammalian cell pelleting, large microbial cultures and harvesting cell and tissue cultures.

The Sorvall RC BIOS centrifuge system can spin up to 15860 xg, significantly reducing cycle times. The smallest footprint available in its class and quiet performance make it ideal for convenient in-lab placement. The high-capacity centrifuge system has a power-saving design that reduces overall processing and development costs, and a robust refrigeration system ensure sample quality which, in turn, reduces lot-to-lot variability.

The Sorvall RC BIOS centrifuge features a robust, automated lid lock control that protects both users and samples while making opening and closing the system effortless. In addition, the new optional Thermo Scientific Centri-Log data collection software increases quality control, process traceability and component tracking for continued Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) compliance.

The Sorvall RC BIOS joins the complete range of Sorvall large-capacity centrifuges, including the recently released low-speed Thermo Scientific Sorvall RC 12BP Plus centrifuge for blood banking and additional bioprocessing applications. With a maximum capacity of 12 litres, the Sorvall RC 12BP Plus centrifuge can process up to 12 blood bag systems (up to 500mL) or six 2000mL Thermo Scientific Nalgene bio-bottles.

Thermo Scientific

Michael J Fox Foundation funds AFFiRiS to develop Parkinson's vaccine

With a grant of USD 475,000, the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF) is funding preclinical development of a vaccine against Parkinson's disease by AFFiRiS AG, based in Vienna, Austria.

The vaccine, known as PD01, targets the protein alpha-synuclein and might offer for the first time a possibility for a treatment that can slow or stop the progression of Parkinson's disease. The basis of PD01 is the company's AFFITOME technology, which already delivered, among others, two vaccines from AFFiRiS AG for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

The American actor, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1991, established the foundation in 2000. Its aim is to fund peer reviewed therapeutic development for the treatment of Parkinson's disease, a progressive disease of the nervous system.

Clinical trial of intravenous JX-594 in patients with refractory metastatic colorectal cancer

Jennerex Inc, a private clinical-stage biotherapeutics company focused on the development and commercialization of first-in-class targeted oncolytic products for cancer, and Transgene, a bio-pharmaceutical company specialized in the development of immunotherapeutic products, have announced that enrollment and treatment of patients in a Phase 1b clinical trial has been initiated to evaluate JX-594 in patients with advanced metastatic, refractory colorectal cancer (CRC).

The study will be performed in Korea, where Green Cross Corporation holds market rights for JX-594.

AnaSpec expands Anti-GFP collection

AnaSpec has expanded its GFP antibodies offerings. The new GFP antibodies include two monoclonals raised in mouse and a third, a polyclonal raised in chicken. Purified green-fluorescent protein (GFP) was used as antigen. Antibody reactivity was confirmed by ELISA and specificity was confirmed by Western Blot using GFP protein. These antibodies also recognize other GFP mutant forms.

Israel mandates closed system drug transfer use

Israel becomes the first country in the world to make the use of closed systems for the preparation and administration of hazardous drugs mandatory.

Carmel Pharma, based in Gothenburg, Sweden, has welcomed the Israeli Ministry of Health’s decision to make closed systems a mandatory addition to the protective equipment requirements in all Israeli medical institutions that prepare and administer cytotoxic drugs.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Domainex wins Genesis Award for its work in supporting translational research

Domainex Ltd, a UK-based drug discovery CRO, has won the 2010 Genesis Life Science Innovation and Enterprise Programme Of The Year Award. This Award was made in recognition of Domainex’s proactive work on promoting academic-industry collaborations, and was adjudicated by leading representatives of the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.

The competition was organized by One Nucleus, the membership organisation for international life science and healthcare companies, in order to recognise UK biotech successes. Domainex is indeed a highly successful biotech company, with one of the best drug discovery track records in the industry. Its medicinal chemistry expertise has delivered 3 novel drugs into clinical trials on behalf of its clients during the last 4 years.

Single-cell gene expression analysis

Available from Fluidigm Europe - a recent independent feature in Technology Review Magazine calls Fluidigm's technology "a fundamental breakthrough in how researchers can interact with the biological world".

The Fluidigm BioMark System 'revolutionizes' how biologists can conduct single-cell gene expression experiments. Using microfluidic chips, the BioMark System features low input requirements and provides the sensitivity and assay throughput necessary for qPCR. Using standard TaqMan and DNA binding dye assays, Fluidigm's proprietary Integrated Fluidic Circuit (IFC) technology enables single-cell discovery with the ability to screen hundreds of genes from single cells. Now with this unique technology it is possible to conduct up to 36,000 PCR reactions in one day, with one technician, and one BioMark System.

Designed for gene expression studies and digital PCR, the BioMark System sets the new standard for high-throughput real-time qPCR assays, integrating thermal cycling and fluorescence detection on Digital Array IFCs and Dynamic Array IFCs.

Fluidigm technology is based on the Integrated Fluidic Circuit (IFC) systems that significantly improve productivity in life science research. Fluidigm's IFCs enable the simultaneous performance of PCR reactions in nanoliter volumes. These "integrated circuits for biology" are made possible by miniaturizing and integrating liquid handling components on a single microfluidic device. Fluidigm's systems, consisting of instrumentation, software and single-use chips, increase throughput, decrease costs and enhance sensitivity compared to conventional laboratory systems.

The BioMark System consists of a real-time PCR instrument, the Dynamic Array IFCs for multiplexing the samples and reagents, as well as an IFC loader to load the IFCs.

Fluidigm develops, manufactures and markets proprietary Integrated Fluidic Circuit (IFC) systems that significantly improve productivity in life science research. Fluidigm IFCs enable the simultaneous performance of thousands of sophisticated biochemical measurements in extremely minute volumes. These "integrated circuits for biology" are made possible by miniaturizing and integrating liquid handling components on a single microfluidic device. Fluidigm systems, consisting of instrumentation, software and chips, increase throughput, decrease costs and enhance sensitivity compared to conventional laboratory systems.

Fluidigm SARL

Agilent appoints EdgeBio target enrichment certified service provider

Agilent Technologies Inc and EdgeBiotoday announced that EdgeBio has been appointed Certified Service Provider (CSP) for the Agilent SureSelect Target Enrichment System for next-generation sequencing.

SureSelect, introduced in February 2009, has been shown to greatly increase the speed and cost-efficiency of next-generation sequencing workflows by enabling experiments to focus on genomic regions of interest rather than sequencing the entire genome.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Controls for PCR, RNA microarray and antibody array studies

The AMSBIO range of Universal Reference Products (RNA, cDNA and Protein Lysate) has been expanded to include standards for studies involving humans as well as for animal species including monkey, dog, mouse, rat, and chicken. These products provide ideal controls for high throughput PCR, RNA microarray and antibody array studies.

All AMSBIO Universal Reference Products are derived from very diverse tissue sets (from both male and female donors), and manufactured on an industrial scale, to ensure the broadest coverage of genes and to minimize the lot-to-lot variation.

Universal RNA from AMSBIO is total RNA isolated from sources, by modified guanidine thiocyanate techniques. Universal RNA can be used as controls for optimizing and trobleshooting single and two colour microarray studies. Universal cDNA is prepared by reverse transcribing AMSBIO's Universal RNA by random hexamer or oligo dT primer. Total RNA is isolated by modified guanidine thiocyanate techniques. Universal cDNA from AMSBIO can be used as controls for real time PCR and regular PCR, and also as gene pools for cloning genes. Universal Protein Lysate from AMSBIO is total protein isolated from whole tissue sources. Universal Protein Lysate can be used as controls for comparison of protein expression and antibody microarray studies.

AMS Biotechnology (AMSBIO)

New therapy approach for the treatment of renal cancer

The Charité - Medical University of Berlin has today begun the implementation of the clinical study phase I/II with the renal cancer medication MGN1601 (ASET Study). With this MOLOGEN AG product, an innovative cell-based gene therapy for the treatment of advanced renal cancer is entering the first important test phase.

MOLOGEN AG, which has since the outset been building its research activities on a diversified product pipeline, has also achieved a decisive milestone in an additional product segment with the start of the clinical study for the renal cancer medication MGN1601.

The primary goal of this study is the investigation of the safety and tolerability of the medication. In addition effectiveness data is recorded, which contain the clinical, immunological and radiological parameters of the patients.

New study uncovers how cellular stress causes brain damage

New findings by researchers at RIKEN, Japan’s flagship research institution, have linked a specific type of cellular stress to neuronal cell death leading to brain damage. Published in the journal Neuron, the findings overturn existing assumptions on the role of a key neuronal protein in cellular stress response, opening up new avenues for research on a range of neurodegenerative diseases.

As an organelle responsible for the production, processing and transport of a wide variety of cellular materials, the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) plays a central role in maintaining protein quality in the cell. Pathological conditions that affect protein folding or calcium signaling can interfere with this role, causing stress to the ER which, in severe cases, can trigger cell death (apoptosis). In the brain, such apoptosis has been associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease (HD), yet the mechanisms involved remain poorly understood.

Glycotope receives innovation award Berlin Brandenburg 2010

Glycotope GmbH, a glycobiology company, has won the innovation award 2010 jointly presented by the German states of Berlin and Brandenburg in recognition of the company’s GlycoExpress technology platform.

GlycoExpress combines a very efficient improvement of the activities and side effects of a broad range of protein biopharmaceuticals with the suitability for a much broader patient population and a very high productivity. Currently four therapeutic proteins (3 antibodies) have been produced under GMP two of which are currently tested in clinical trials.

POC study of novel cardioprotective compound, TRO40303

Trophos SA, a clinical stage pharmaceutical company developing innovative therapeutics from discovery to clinical validation for indications with under-served needs in neurology and cardiology, announces today a European Union award of EUR 6 million to support MitoCare, a 2.5 year international, translational medicine project.

MitoCare, which will begin in January 2011, will be conducted by a 16 partner consortium and led by Trophos. MitoCare forms part of the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration Activities (FP7). MitoCare will investigate the efficacy and safety of TRO40303 in a phase 2 proof-of-concept study to treat cardiac ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) in acute myocardial infarction (MI) patients and develop knowledge of biomarkers and models of cardiac ischemia-reperfusion injury.

Winner Eppendorf & Science Prize for Neurobiology 2010

The Eppendorf & Science Prize for Neurobiology 2010 has been awarded to the Canadian scientist, Dr Christopher Gregg, Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University for his research on maternal and paternal gene expression in the brain. His work focuses on genes that alter their expression in the brains of offspring according to whether they were inherited from the father versus the mother. Understanding the nature of parental effects on gene expression is potentially important for uncovering the basis of complex human neurological diseases such as autism and schizophrenia as well as eating disorders.

The Prize is sponsored by Eppendorf and the journal Science. This annual international research prize of US$25,000 is open to all young scientists who are 35 years of age or younger and who have made outstanding contributions to neurobiological research. The next deadline for applications is June 15, 2011.

Eppendorf AG

Open access to human gene-editing platform

Horizon Discovery, a provider of research tools to support the development of personalized medicines, has announced that it will commit resources to provide training and open access to its rAAV GENESIS human gene-editing platform for another 50 academic and not-for-profit research groups over the next five years, extending the GENESIS Gene Editing Consortium. This forms part of Horizon’s strategy to generate at least 2500 new X-MANTM (gene X- Mutant And Normal) models of cancer, neurodegenerative and cardiovascular disease. These models will support drug discovery researchers to understand how complex genetic diseases manifest themselves in real patients and help rationalize many aspects of drug development, and therefore the cost of bringing to market new personalized therapies.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Key milestone in solving structure of Inimex’s Innate Defense Regulator

Inimex Pharmaceuticals and SARomics Biostructures announce that they have achieved a scientific milestone in their collaboration to solve the structure of Inimex’s Innate Defense Regulator (IDR) IMX942 in complex with its target, the ZZ domain of human p62 (sequestosome-1).

No structures were previously available for this challenging protein domain. The crystal structure determined by SARomics Biostructures provides invaluable information that will assist the functional understanding of IMX942 and the development of the new generation of IDRs.

The p62 ZZ domain was cloned, expressed, purified and crystallized by SARomics Biostructures in collaboration with their molecular biology partner Vectron Biosolutions in Trondheim, Norway. Excellent crystallographic data were obtained at the MAX-lab synchrotron in Lund, Sweden.

“We are very excited to be able to help Inimex Pharmaceuticals fully leverage the potential of IMX942 by revealing the molecular details of its interactions with its target protein”, says Dr. Derek Logan, Chief Scientific Officer of SARomics Biostructures AB.

IMX942 is the first of a new class of drugs known as Innate Defense Regulators (IDRs), which improve survival, ameliorate tissue damage and reduce bacterial infections through modulation of innate defenses. IMX942 is a small, proprietary, fully synthetic peptide that binds to the intracellular adaptor protein p62 and modifies the signaling network downstream of TLR, TNF, and IL-1 receptors. IMX942 acts on the final common pathways of pathogenesis, being effective against antibiotic resistant infections and controlling the outcome of disease caused by a broad spectrum of pathogens, by chemotherapy and by localized radiation.

Inimex Pharmaceuticals

Transforming proteins into pioneering drugs

ProJect Pharmaceutics started business operations and opened its laboratory facilities in the Biotech-cluster in Martinsried, near Munich. ProJect Pharmaceutics (PJP) transforms proteins, peptides and delicate small molecules into pioneering drugs.

Adding value to client´s bio-therapeutic products is PJP´s mission, focused in an innovative concept of biopharmaceutical development called Advaceutics. Based on the Advaceutics concept, ProJect Pharmaceutics designs optimized pharmaceutical formulations and delivery systems that are stable, convenient and safe. Tailored to these optimized systems the company develops cost-effective manufacturing processes and transfers those from its own pilot labs to large-scale manufacturing. ProJect Pharmaceutics makes sure that investigational products as well as new presentations of registered drugs are developed effectively and will run smoothly in clinical and commercial scale GMP manufacturing.

Knock-in rats using zinc finger nuclease technology

Sigma Life Science, the biological products and services business of Sigma-Aldrich, today announced that its SAGE Labs initiative has successfully used its proprietary CompoZr Zinc Finger Nuclease (ZFN) technology to generate knock-in rats in which foreign genes have been inserted, or ‘knocked-in’, into the rat genome in a precisely targeted manner. This breakthrough achievement represents a major step forward in the creation of a transgenic animal, which may serve as more predictive models of human disease.

In a proof of concept study conducted by researchers at SAGE Labs, a copy of the green fluorescent protein (GFP) was inserted in a targeted fashion into the Mdr1a gene of a rat, thus creating a rat that glows under special lighting conditions. The study, which has recently been accepted for publication1, opens the doors to a variety of new applications including the tagging of genes with reporters such as GFP to measure gene expression patterns and replacement of rat genes with humanized versions.