Nexia Biotechnologies to Work on Nerve Gas Antidote from Goat's Milk

Nexia Biotechnologies made headlines in 2002 when it announced it had created genetically modified goats that expressed a protein unique to spiders its milk. This month Nexia announced that it would work with the Canadian military to develop a genetically modified goat that would express a powerful nerve gas antitoxin in its milk.

Its research there will focus on production of a recombinant version of butyrycholinesterace (BChE). BChE is found in small quantities in the blood of many animals, and acts as a defense against nerve agents. It binds with the components of nerve agents and renders them harmless within the blood stream. Of course in a full-fledged nerve gas attack, this small amount of naturally occurring BChE is quickly overwhelmed.

Nexia will try to create a GM goat that produces BChE in large quantities that could then be prepared as an injection which military forces could use on the battlefield to better protect themselves against nerve agents such as sarin gas.

According to Nexia, studies in animals have shown that injections of relatively large amounts of BChE have protected lab animals from such agents, but the inability to produce large quantities of it has precluded BChE from applications in human beings.


Fighting Nerve Gas: Would Use Milk of Transgenic Animals. National Post, April 2, 2003.

Protexia? – A Bioscavenger. Nexia Biotechnologies, 2003.

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