PETA Buys Stock in Pharmaceutical Firm Arrowhead, Calls for Ban on Chimpanzee Experiments

Company Commissioned Cruel Experiment on Chimpanzee That Was Deemed ‘Unnecessary’ by Scientific Authorities

For Immediate Release:
April 7, 2014

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Pasadena, Calif.

PETA wants Pasadena-based pharmaceutical company Arrowhead Research to join Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, Novo Nordisk, and other drug companies by pledging not to conduct, commission, or fund cruel experiments on chimpanzees and is taking its campaign to the boardroom.

After a year of privatediscussions with Arrowheadthat have failed to lead to meaningful change, PETA has purchased stock in the company so that it can attend the next shareholder meeting and make its case to executives and fellow owners.

In a 2013 experiment commissioned and funded by Arrowhead at the notorious Texas Biomedical Research Institute, a female chimpanzee was injected with an experimental drug to treat hepatitis B and underwent repeated painful biopsies during which pieces of her liver were removed. She was first infected with the hepatitis B virus (HBV) 35 years ago and has been locked in a laboratory and subjected to countless similar procedures since.

“Arrowhead’s recent commissioning of a cruel experiment in which a chimpanzee was forced to undergo painful procedures to remove pieces of her liver is ethically and scientifically unjustifiable,” says PETA Director of Laboratory Investigations Justin Goodman. “As a shareholder, PETA will push Arrowhead to take a stand against experiments such as this on chimpanzees that have been deemed unethical and unnecessary by many of its peers and the nation’s foremost scientific authorities.”

A landmark 2011 study by the Institute of Medicine found that “most current biomedical research use of chimpanzees is not necessary,” including for hepatitis B research. A subsequent reportfrom the National Institutes of Health (NIH) agreed and concluded that “research involving chimpanzees has rarely accelerated new discoveries or the advancement of human health for infectious diseases.” As a result, the NIH has cut funding for the majority of federally funded biomedical experiments on chimpanzees and is retiring at least 310 of the 360 chimpanzees in laboratories.

Gilead Sciences, which currently has an HBV drug in clinical trials, previously commissioned experiments on chimpanzees but has since banned the practice, as have many others. The U.S. is the last country in the world that conducts invasive experiments on chimpanzees.

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