The number of patients waiting for organs is almost 10x greater than the number of donors, and the disparity is increasing as medical advancements have made more patients eligible for transplantation. Synthetic Genomics Inc. (SGI) and United Therapeutics Corporation have joined together to address the critical unmet organ need through xenotransplantation, the use of pigs as an essentially unlimited source of donor organs.
In May 2014, SGI and Lung Biotechnology, a subsidiary of United Therapeutics, signed a multiyear collaborative research and development agreement. The agreement applies SGI’s proprietary synthetic genomics tools to the improvement of pigs as organ donors, focusing on the lung. Advances made by the collaborative teams led to an expansion of the research agreement between SGI and Lung Biotechnology in September 2015 to include a focus on improvement of kidney xenotransplantation and other organs.