AVANTEA (AVT) is a leading SME biotechnology company in the field of livestock assisted reproduction and genetic engineering. It provides services of embryo production of the major livestock species by assisted reproduction techniques, stem cell derivation for cell therapy and banking, production of customised genetically modified large animals by somatic cell cloning, training courses in assisted reproduction and transgenesis. Research and development activities are supported through grants from European and National Granting Agencies. AVT premises are in Cremona (North Italy). It employs 12 qualified staff members. No single laboratory in Europe has such broad expertise in nuclear transfer (AVT has successfully cloned three large animal species) and it is one of the few in Europe to have extensive experience and a track record in this field. AVT has also been granted a patent on somatic cell nuclear transfer: Galli C & Lazzari G. International application No PCT/EP99/02624 (No. 99922106.2).
The main task in the project will be the selection by somatic cell nuclear transfer and genetic engineering of the pigs and bovine relevant for the project while developing novel precise genetic engineering methods and novel pig and bovine cell lines. SSNs (sequence-specific nucleases) used to edit genome will be either developed by Avantea or outsorced to commercial suppliers. It is worthwhile to mention that in the last few years AVT has participated in several EU funded consortia and in particular to a large collaborative project funded by the EC for the development of pig models suitable for xenotransplantation (“Engineering of the porcine genome for xenotransplantation studies in primates: a step towards clinical application”, acronym XENOME, LSHB-CT-2006 n°037377). These genetically modified pigs are obtained by transfection of fibroblast cell lines with selected vectors carrying the gene of interest and will be the starting point for the current project.
Contributors to TRANSLINK:
- Prof. Cesare Galli, AVT director,
- Dr. Giovanna Lazzari, senior research scientist.
- Dr. Irina Lagutina, senior research scientist.
- Dr. Andrea Perota, post-doctoral scientist.
- Mr. Roberto Duchi, veterinarian responsible for the animal house
- Dr Mark Pullinger, Project Manager
- Mrs Anna Pistone, Administrative Support to the Project