Indoor Biotechnologies Featured in Nature Magazine for Gene Therapy Efforts to Develop Hypoallergenic Cats

The race to deliver the hypoallergenic cat
Researchers are looking beyond allergen immunotherapy to help people whose pets make them sneeze.

By Amber Dance

Excerpt: Martin Chapman, chief executive of Indoor Biotechnologies in Charlottesville, Virginia, which specializes in products and laboratory services linked to indoor air quality, allergies and asthma, hopes that his team at Indoor Biotechnologies will be able to make a truly hypoallergenic feline by eliminating Fel d 1 completely. They are in the early stages of developing a gene therapy against the two genes that encode the subunits of Fel d 1. Eliminating them from the salivary and sebaceous glands should create a hypoallergenic cat.

Chapman and his colleagues first had the idea in the 1990s, when the Fel d 1 genetic sequences were identified10, but the rise of CRISPR gene-editing technology has provided an opening to try it. Chapman already holds a patent on the idea, but it will take a lot of work before allergen-free kitties are on offer.

Nicole Brackett, a postdoctoral researcher at the company, has analysed the Fel d 1 sequences of dozens of cats. From this, she was able to design guide RNAs that can be used to bring about a CRISPR-based disruption of the Fel d 1 genes. So far, she has managed to destroy the Fel d 1 sequences in an immortalized cat kidney cell line, with efficiencies of up to 55%.

Read the entire Nature Magazine article here: