Startup develops biotechnology hormone to induce ovulation of herds

Fri, July 07, 2017 03:36

Developed by Kimera, the hormone has a production cost 30% to 50% cheaper than the one on the market and does not use animals for its development

Increase the productive efficiency of herds by inducing ovulation of bovine and swine without recourse to the reproductive hormones of animal extraction. This is Kimera's proposal, a biotech startup linked to the Technology based Business Incubator (Ribeirão Preto), which presents the hormone r-eCG - developed from cells modified by recombinant DNA technology.


Camillo Del Cistia Andrade, PhD in Genetics from the University of São Paulo (USP), explains that artificial insemination is a growing technique in Brazil. "Artificial insemination is currently an essential tool for the productive increase of herds. Breeders of all sizes are using the technique for a large number of animals to be inseminated, but the technique is limited when comes to detect the animal’s  heat, which may not be syncronized, increasing the time for insemination ".

To solve this issue, Artificial Fixed-Time Insemination (IATF) has emerged, which uses reproductive hormones to induce the heat of animals. "These hormones cause the ovary to produce the ovules at the time of the breeding season in order to synchronize lots, synchronizing the breeding season and, consequently, the birth of the calves, impacting the whole production chain," says Camillo.

The hormones used and available on the market is based on eCG (Equine Chorionic Gonadotrophin) as an active principle, obtained from the extraction of animals. "It is a hormone extracted from the blood of mares when it is pregnant, which means that to obtain it it is necessary to have a herd of mares constantly pregnant," he explains.


As an alternative to the method, Kimera Biotechnology has developed the hormone r-eCG, which has the same purpose as animal-derived hormones, but is produced by culturing cells modified by recombinant DNA technology. "The hormone developed by Kimera is completely produced in the laboratory without the need of blood extraction from mares," explains Camillo, adding that the hormone developed by Kimera has gone through comparative testing and the results are encouraging.



Kimera performed tests to assess the activity in bovines using ultrasound in cows induced to heat through the administration of the hormone eCG and the hormone r-eCG. The tests were performed on Nelore females, calved at least once, divided into homogeneous groups: 127 cows received the hormone eCG and 50 the hormone developed by Kimera.

Artificial insemination was performed after ultrasound and ovulation observation of each animal from both groups. "The results indicated pregnancy rate of 50.2% for the eCG group, and 48% for the r-eCG (Kimera). And in the analysis of follicular growth the result was similar ", emphasizes the researcher.

"The tests show that it is possible to reproduce the hormone in the laboratory using a biotech crop process. The main advantage of the new method is the cost of production of approximately 30% to 50% cheaper, as well as the ethical issue that excludes the use of pregnant mares in the production process. "

 Sobre a Kimera

Kimera, incubated at Supera Business Incubator , works in the development, improvement and production of Recombinant Biomolecules aiming the improvement in Reproduction and Animal Health.

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 About SUPERA Park

SUPERA Technology Park is the result of a consortium between Fipase, the University of São Paulo (USP), Ribeirão Preto City Hall and the São Paulo State Development Secretariat. Located in the USP's local Campus, the Park houses the Business Incubator Supervision, the SUPERA Technology Center, the Health and IT Clusters and also SUPERA Business Incubator.

 In total, there are 59 companies installed in the Park, of which 40 are in the Business Incubator; 14 companies in the Business Center and 5 in the SEVNA Seed accelerator.

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