"The Spider-Goat Clones of Montreal," revisited

Every day or two I check the SiteMeter stats for edwardwillett.com, and today I noticed my visits were around 200 higher than I would expect (I usually get 350 to 450 visitors each day, but today I’m up over 600). A check revealed that the extra traffic is coming from people searching for “spider goat” or “spider goats,” which leads them to this eight-year-old column called “The Spider-Goat Clones of Montreal,” about Nexia Biotechnologies’ successful efforts to create a herd of goats containing a spider gene that resulted in spider-silk proteins being expressed in their milk. Nexia hoped to harvest the spider silk from the milk for a variety of purposes, from medical sutures to bullet-proof vests.

Since the column was written the company has been a bit down on its luck, as this year-old story from the National Post makes clear:

Nexia Biotechnologies Inc. was a small firm with a neat idea: making spider silk by splicing genes from arachnids into goats and harvesting the silk protein, or “BioSteel” from their milk. BioSteel was demonstrated to be stronger and lighter than steel or Kevlar.

Between 1993 and 2000, Nexia raised $67-million and went public. But by last year, the Montreal-based firm had spent most of its cash and sold part its business for shares in another speculative biotech outfit.

It was left with a herd of 40 “franken-goats,” some patents and $2.2-million in cash. “BioSteel remains an interesting research project, but the dilemma remains what is the end use of the product?” says founder Jeffrey Turner.

However, things may be looking up. In October came this news:

Enseco Energy Services Corp. (“Enseco”) and Nexia Biotechnologies Ltd. (formerly, 6539718 Canada Inc.) (“New Nexia”) are pleased to announce the successful completion of the previously announced arrangement involving Nexia Biotechnologies Inc. (“Nexia”), Enseco Energy Services Corp. (“Private Enseco”), New Nexia and Enseco Management Corp. (“ManagementCo”).

The Arrangement resulted in the amalgamation of Nexia, Private Enseco and ManagementCo to form “Enseco Energy Services Corp”, a new oil and gas service industry company and the creation of New Nexia which will continue to pursue Nexia’s biotechnology opportunities.

And now, according to the most recent Nexia press release, which announces the company is now trading on Canada’s newest stock exchange, the CNQ:

Nexia has received an Issue Notification from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, for U.S. Patent No. 7,157,615. This patent strengthens and protects our intellectual property with respect to the production of biofilaments in transgenic animals.

Nexia has shipped transgenic goat milk to the University of Wyoming where BioSteel® is being purified and made available for research in industrial, medical device and nanotech applications. Nexia welcomes back Dr. Costas Karatzas, the former Senior VP of R&D of Nexia Biotechnologies Inc., as a consultant, who will assist in pursuing all possible strategies to maximize shareholder value.

So the work continues. My question is, why all the visitors today? Was there some big news story about spider silk proteins produced from goat’s milk that I missed?


Permanent link to this article: https://edwardwillett.com/2007/04/the-spider-goat-clones-of-montreal-revisited/


    • Edward Willett on May 10, 2007 at 6:46 pm
    • Reply

    Aha, that probably accounts for it. Thanks!

    • cgates on May 10, 2007 at 5:26 pm
    • Reply

    I saw a special on the history channel a few weeks ago and was curious about it.

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