Monday, September 27, 1999
NEW CASTLE, Va. - Controversies that drove Pharming Group N.V. to abandon hopes of raising cloned transgenic cattle in the Netherlands have followed the company to a remote corner of rural America. Before the company can convince FDA that protein products purified from milk are safe and effective, it is facing the challenge of convincing the residents of Craig County, Virginia, that its cows will not pose a hazard to human health or contaminate the environment.
Rumors and fears have swirled around Craig County since Republican Governor James Gilmore III announced in June that the state had lured the Dutch biopharmaceutical company to Virginia. The state offered a pro-business regulatory environment and a package of economic incentives worth about $3 million for Pharming to build and operate two facilities in the state: a "pharm" in Craig County where 200 transgenic calves would be raised and milked, and a processing plant in Blacksburg where the blood clotting proteins Factor VIII and Fibrinogen would be extracted from the 1000 gallons of milk produced daily.