TGRx gets first $30 million contract

Linda Benedict  |  11/19/2009 9:05:05 PM

TransGenRx (TGRx) – a biotechnology company started by licensing technology from the LSU AgCenter – has landed its first contract worth $30 million. TGRx will produce human growth hormones for an Argentinean pharmaceutical company, called Cassara, over the next 12 to 18 months. Cassara will distribute the hormone in medicines primarily in Central and South America.

TGRx, which was established in 2002, produces specialized proteins. The initial technology used involved changing genes in chickens so they would produce specialized proteins in their eggs. Although the company is still perfecting this technique, TGRx has switched its focus to cell culture for the creation of these proteins, according to Richard Cooper, company executive vice president and an LSU AgCenter researcher.

"TGRx is one of only a handful of biotechnology companies in Louisiana. These companies face many challenges in getting started and being able to sustain themselves. The accomplishments of TGRx are good for the state," said David Boethel, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor for research. "We’re pleased with the role our research was able to play in bringing this technology forward."

Under the licensing agreement, the AgCenter receives 5 percent of TGRx sales and has a 15 percent stake in the company. This first contract should generate $1.5 million in royalties for the AgCenter, Boethel said.

TGRx is located in the Louisiana Emerging Technology Center, which is a technology incubator facility for start-up companies on the LSU AgCenter campus. The facility was initially funded through the Louisiana Economic Development Department. 

Linda Foster Benedict

(This article was published in the fall 2009 issue of Louisiana Agriculture.)

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