ATCC, the world’s premier biological materials management and standards organization, today announced that it has been awarded two projects, with a combined value of $385,000, by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to support its Agricultural Research Service (ARS) agency over a five-year period. Under the Federal cooperative agreement, ATCC will establish the USDA ARS Resources Collection, a remote repository of biological materials, and oversee the production, storage, characterization, and distribution of specific Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC)-developed cells and viruses to the scientific community. For the second project, ATCC will create genetically modified cell lines capable of growing and producing African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV) vaccines.
“Through these two projects, we will continue to support the USDA and strive to help the ARS achieve its mission of delivering scientific solutions to national and global agricultural challenges,” said Raymond H. Cypess, D.V.M., Ph.D., chairman and CEO of ATCC. “We too are committed to advancing science and protecting global health and will use our expertise to provide novel scientific research and development solutions to global infectious diseases, such as ASFV, to benefit humanity.”
Under the Cooperative Agreement, ATCC will expand the biological materials using ARS-provided protocols, or new protocols developed jointly with ARS, to create 12 stocks for quality control characterization through the USDA ARS Resources Collection. Additionally, ATCC will manage this collection and provide long-term storage and global distribution of the materials for up to five years through its biological repository operations while maintaining the cold chain logistics supply.
Since the USDA ARS requires support in growing specific cells and viruses of agricultural concern, for the second project, ATCC will also create custom modifications to the Plum Island Porcine Epithelial Cells (PIPEC) cell line, including deletions of specific genes and insertions of different reporters, using CRISPR-Cas9 for the study and development of novel ASFV vaccines. African Swine Fever is a devastating disease of domestic and feral swine and causes a significant economic impact on the agricultural industry. There is no ASFV vaccine available commercially, and current control measures consist of strict animal quarantine and culling procedures.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the USDA to provide researchers from around the world with access to these critical biomaterials in the ARS Resources Collection, as well as share our expertise in infectious disease research and development with them for scientific research,” said Joseph Leonelli, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of ATCC Federal Solutions.