Europe Rejects Genetically Engineered Drug

EU regulators declined to approve a new drug produced in the milk of genetically engineered goats. No, it’s not the spidergoat. This is a human protein, secreted by goats who have had human genes inserted into their cells. The protein can then be purified and used in drugs — in this case as an anticlotting agent in in people who lack the protein.

The rejection was based largely on clinicial trial issues, rather than the fact that the drug was made in a goat instead of a test tube. The company, GTC Biotherapeutics, has sworn to return with new trials later. Other companies are pursuing similar procedures in the United States, but the GTC trial would have been the first to have been approved.

It’s difficult to imagine that European consumers fearful of GMO corn would accept drugs made from modifed goat-human DNA. Medical necessity could change minds in a way that ordinary store-shelf cereal boxes can’t, however.