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F.D.A. Approves Drug Derived From Goat’s Milk

Posted in News by Skepdude on February 6, 2009

The newest product made from goat’s milk is not a tangy cheese, but a drug that could prevent fatal blood clots.

Ushering in a new era of both agricultural and pharmaceutical technology, the Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved the first pharmaceutical product made in the milk of genetically engineered animals.

The 200 goats, which are assiduously cared for at a secure farm in central Massachusetts, contain a human gene that causes them to produce a human blood protein in their milk. After the goats are milked, the protein can be extracted for sale as a drug.

Such “pharm animals” as they are sometimes called, could become a way of producing biotechnology drugs at lower cost or in greater quantities than the existing methods, which are to extract them from donated blood or to grow genetically engineered cells in steel tanks.

For instance, the protein being made in the goat milk, antithrombin, is now derived from donated blood plasma. But it is sometimes unavailable because of a shortage of plasma donations.