Yes, they are cute, but Taconic Farms prefers that you don't pet their animals. The company provides research rodents and related products and services to pharmaceutical and biomedical companies, government agencies, and academic institutions in Asia, Europe, and North America through its facilities in Denmark, Germany, and the US. Taconic specially breeds rats and mice, the workhorses of the biomedical industry, to be disease-free or genetically modified to exhibit certain traits to help researchers develop new therapies for human disease. Other company units offer drug- and animal-safety testing and monoclonal antibody production. Family-owned Taconic was founded in 1952 by Robert Phelan.
Taconic operates a network of seven breeding facilities and three lab sites in the US and Europe. Besides providing precisely defined animal models, the company offers supporting services that include generating custom models, contract research, compound profiling, phenotyping, imaging studies, and surgical services. It also maintains an interactive library and provides a broad range of scientific presentations through webinars posted on its website.
Taconic grows its business to meet its clients' needs for innovative models and support services through facility expansions, outright acquisitions, and distribution agreements. Some of its major investments have included its acquisition of the Xenogen Biosciences business of Caliper Life Sciences for $11 million in 2009. The deal included a facility in New Jersey where in vivo preclinical contract research services are conducted. In 2010 Taconic struck a distribution agreement in with lab animal producer CLEA Japan to bring more of its products to researchers in that country. Also in 2010, Taconic entered a non-exclusive marketing and distribution agreement with Transposagen Biopharmaceuticals to produce and distribute Transposagen Biopharmaceutical's FatRat, a genetically modified rat model that becomes obese because it lacks the "satiation gene" that inhibits overeating. The rat is being marketed to companies studying obesity treatments.
In 2007 Taconic acquired 80% of Cologne, Germany-based Artemis Pharmaceuticals from its parent Exelixis, as that company shifted its focus to drug development. (Artemis and Taconic had already collaborated for several years prior to the acquisition, including the shared acquisition of technology from CGI Pharmaceuticals earlier in 2007.) The subsidiary, which was renamed TaconicArtemis GmbH, develops and commercializes genetically engineered mice and mouse stem cells, including its ArteMice platform. In 2011 Taconic paid Exelixis approximately $2.3 million for its remaining 19.9% interest in TaconicArtemis, after that company exercised its right to require Taconic to buy its remaining interest.
While Taconic remains in Phelan family control and Samuel Phelan serves as its vice chairman, the company appointed Todd Little to the position of CEO in 2009 as the first non-family member to hold the job. The move signified the company's shift to bringing up non-family executives as part of its plan for executive development.
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