To exploit the power of mouse genetics to unlock the function of each gene in the genome, Regeneron scientists developed VelociGene®, a novel, proprietary group of technologies for the modification of the mouse genome.
Eliminating or modifying a single gene in the mouse genome can provide insight into the role that gene plays in normal physiology and disease pathogenesis. The high-throughput of the automated VelociGene technology enables it to provide, as the name implies, the fastest path from gene discovery to assignment of function. In support of the Regeneron drug development programs, VelociGene has delivered unprecedented speed and capacity for the validation of therapeutic targets and the creation of animal models for human disease. Utilizing VelociGene in conjunction with our VelociMouse® method, Regeneron is able to vastly increase the speed and reduce the cost associated with the generation of genetically engineered mice for understanding the function of each gene.
The versatile VelociGene technology enables the tackling of projects ranging from a single base mutation to multi-gene deletions and the replacement of mouse genes with their human homologs. The pinnacle of the VelociGene technological achievements was the largest mammalian genetic engineering project ever accomplished: the creation of the VelocImmune™ mouse — a mouse capable of producing human antibodies that can serve as specific and potent therapeutics.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) selected VelociGene in 2006 as part of its Knockout Mouse Project, an unprecedented effort to determine the function of thousands of unknown genes. Under the NIH grant, Regeneron took on the challenge of targeting 3,500 of the most difficult genes. VelociGene has already surpassed this goal and is expected to complete the targeting of more than 4,000 genes by the end of 2011.