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Biotechnology for animal health
Molecular Genetics, Inc. is established in November, in the Minneapolis suburb of Minnetonka. The founders are Franklin Pass, an M.D. in the Department of Dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School, and Tony Faras, Ph.D., a virologist in the Department of Microbiology. The company intends to employ hybridoma and recombinant DNA technologies to develop vaccines and antitoxins in order to improve animal health. Commercial prospects are bright for effective new products in animal health – the markets are massive. In the U.S., 10-15% of livestock born in a given year succumb to infectious diseases. The company also plans to use rDNA techniques to design novel plant species with altered growth patterns and improved nutritional value.
In 1990, the firm shifts its focus from veterinary to human pharmaceuticals, and changes its name to MGI Pharma. In 2008, in $3.9 billion merger agreement, MGI became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Easai Corporation of North America. The company independently markets three drugs in the U.S. – Aloxi® (palonosetron hydrochloride), a 5-HT3 receptor antagonist indicated for chemotherapy-related nausea, Dacogen® (decitabine), an anti-cancer nucleoside analogue, and Gliadel® , an implantable, biodegradable, carmustine-based wafer used to treat malignant gliomas (brain cancers).