Capabilities & Resources

Virscio’s testing facility has been designed to optimize animal wellbeing and study outcomes and we are recognized for our commitment to these critical priorities.

Facilities & Infrastructure

The AAALAC accredited and GLP-compliant campus encompasses study-specific vivariums, procedure and exam suites, physiology labs, operating rooms, tissue culture, wet labs, necropsy, test article and sample storage and handling, and MRI, ultrasound and ophthalmic imaging.  Additional infrastructure supports staff training and administrative and research workspace, including space for visiting scientist who are encouraged to share and apply our safe, secure work environment for their research needs.


  • Philips Intera 1.5T MRI
  • GE Vivid E9 Ultrasound
  • Surgical microscopy
  • Histology microscopy
  • Fluorescence microscopy
  • Dissecting microscopy
  • Cell culture microscopy
  • Behavioral video

Model Induction and Sampling

  • Stealth S7 Surgical Navigation
  • Microsurgical instrumentation
  • Stereotaxic instrumentation
  • Cell culture incubators
  • Laminar flow biosafety hoods
  • Cryopreservation
  • Fine tissue dissection
  • Liquid nitrogen generator

Ophthalmic Physiology and Biometry

  • A scan ultrasound
  • Fluorophotometry
  • Laser flare photometry
  • Full-field electrophysiology
  • Multifocal electrophysiology
  • Pachymetry
  • Tonometry
  • Keratometry
  • Autorefraction


  • Cardiac telemetry
  • Gait kinematics
  • CANTAB cognitive testing
  • WGTA cognitive testing
  • EMED pedography
  • Activity monitors
  • Spectrophotometry
  • Microplate/cuvette readers
  • Flow cytometry

Ophthalmic Imaging

  • Fundus photography
  • Fluorescein angiography
  • Optical coherence tomography
  • Specular microscopy
  • Slit lamp ophthalmoscopy
  • Direct ophthalmoscopy
  • Gonioscopy

Ophthalmic Model Induction and Sampling

  • 532nm laser
  • Phacoemulsification
  • Vitrectomy
  • Surgical microscopy
  • Endoillumination
  • Micro-instrumentation
  • Ophthalmic surgical suite

Biological Resources

virscio - capabilities
virscio - capabilities

African green monkeys (also called vervets) are a non-endangered, Old World nonhuman primate (NHP) species.  A subpopulation of green monkeys was introduced to St. Kitts, West Indies in the 1600s where they now thrive and present an agricultural threat as an invasive species without natural predators. With a disease-free and genetically constricted founding population, the St. Kitts green monkey represents a unique primate resource, providing a NHP source for in vivo research at academic, government and industry laboratories internationally, as well as the conduct of a wide variety of translational and therapeutic development studies by Virscio scientists with industry and academic collaborators in St. Kitts.  They are additionally employed for NHP cell line derivation for vaccine development and in vitro assays.  Green monkey derived Cos-7 and Vero cells are widely used as a well-characterized platform for in vitro analyses.

Green monkeys are genetically similar to cynomolgus and rhesus macaques and evolutionarily equidistant to humans, with significant shared physiology and anatomy. Derived from a small founding population, St. Kitts green monkeys exhibit a degree of genetic diversity that accommodates study designs of smaller sample sizes and are devoid of the zoonoses common to continental populations.   Investigative new drug and device filings supported by green monkey data are accepted by the FDA and other regulatory agencies for clinical trial approvals.


Ward K, Coon D, Magiera D, Bhadresa S, Nisbett E, Lawrence M, Exploration of the African green monkey as a preclinical pharmacokinetic model: intravenous pharmacokinetic parameters, Drug Metabolism and Disposition, 36:715-20, 2008.

Elmén J, Lindow M, Schütz S, Lawrence M, Petri P, Obad S, Lindholm M, Hedtjärn M, Hansen H, Berger U, Gullans S, Kearney P, Sarnow P, Straarupand E, Kauppinen S, LNA-mediated microRNA silencing in non-human primates, Nature, 452:869-9, 2008.

Ward K, Coon D, Magiera D, Bhadresa S, Struharik M, Lawrence M, Exploration of the African green monkey as a preclinical pharmacokinetic model: Oral pharmacokinetic parameters and drug-drug interactions, Xenobiotica, 39:266-72, 2009.

Pritchard C, Slotkin J, Yu D, Dai H, Lawrence M, Bronson R, Reynolds F, Teng Y, Woodard E, Langer R.  Establishing a model spinal cord injury in the African green monkey for the preclinical evaluation of biodegradable polymer scaffolds seeded with human neural stem cells, Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 188:258-69, 2010.

Liddie S, Goody R, Valles R, Lawrence M. Clinical chemistry and hematology values in a Caribbean population of African green monkeys.  Journal of Medical Primatology, 39:389-98. 2010.

Goody R, Hu W, Shafiee A, Struharik M, Bartels S, Lopez F, Lawrence M, Optimization of laser-induced choroidal neovascularization in African green monkeys, Experimental Eye Research, 92:464-72, 2011.

Glogowski S, Ward K, Lawrence M, Goody R, Proksch J.  The use of the African green monkey as a preclinical model for ocular pharmacokinetic studies.  Journal of Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 28:290-8, 2012.

Cloutier F, Lawrence M, Goody R, Lamoureux S,  Al-Mahmood S, Colin S, Ferry A, Conduzorgues J, Hadri A, Cursiefen C, Udaondo P, Viaud E, Thorin E, Chemtob S.  Antiangiogenic activity of aganirsen in nonhuman primate and rodent models of retinal neovascular disease after topical administration, Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 53:1195-203, 2012.

Rottiers V, Obad S, Petri A, McGarrah R, Lindholm M, Black J, Sinha S, Goody R, Lawrence L, deLemos A, Hansen H, Whittaker S, Henry S, Brookes R, Najafi-Shoushtari S, Chung R, Whetstine J, Gerszten R, Kauppinen K, Näär A.  Pharmacological inhibition of a microRNA family in nonhuman primates by a seed-targeting 8-mer antimiR, Science Translational Medicine, 5(212):212ra162 2013.

Halley P, Kadakkuzha B, Ali Faghihi M, Magistri M, Zeier Z, Khorkova O, Coito C, Hsiao J, Lawrence M, Wahlestedt C. Regulation of the apolipoprotein gene cluster by a long noncoding RNA, Cell Reports, 6:222-230 2013.

Sidman R, Li J, Lawrence M, Hu W, Musso G, Giordano R, Cardó-Vila M, Pasqualin Ri, Arap W. The peptidomimetic Vasotide targets two retinal VEGF receptors and reduces pathological angiogenesis in murine and nonhuman primate models of retinal disease. Science Translational Medicine, 7:309ra165. 2015.

Hsiao J, Yuan T, Tsai M, Lu C, Lin Y, Le M, Lin S, Chang F, Liu Pimentel H, Olive C, Coito C, Shen G, Young M, Thorne T, Lawrence M, Magistri M, Faghihi M, Khorkova O, Wahlestedt C. Upregulation of haploinsufficient gene expression in the brain by targeting a long non-coding RNA Improves seizure phenotype in a model of dravet syndrome. EBioMedicine. 9:257-77 2016.

Slotkin J, Pritchard C, Luque B, Ye J, Layer R, Lawrence M, O’Shea T, Roy R, Zhong H, Vollenweider I, Edgerton V, Courtine G, Woodard E, Langer R.  Biodegradable scaffolds promote tissue remodeling and functional improvement in non-human primates with acute spinal cord injury. Biomaterials, 123:63-76 2017.

Grishanin R, Vuillemenot B, Sharma P, Keravala A, Greengard J, Gelfman C, Blumenkrantz M, Lawrence M, Hu W, Kiss S, Gasmi M. Preclinical evaluation of ADVM-022, a novel gene therapy approach to treating wet age-related macular degeneration. Mol Ther.27:118-129  2019.

Liddie S, Okamoto H, Gromada J, Lawrence M. Characterization of glucose-stimulated insulin release protocols in African green monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops). J Med Primatol, 48::10-21 2019.

Hudson N, Celkova L, Hopkins A, Greene C, Storti F, Ozaki E, Fahey E, Theodoropoulou S, Kenna PF, Humphries MM, Curtis AM, Demmons E, Browne A, Liddie S, Lawrence MS, Grimm C, Cahill MT, Humphries P, Doyle SL, Campbell M.  Dysregulated claudin-5 cycling in the inner retina causes retinal pigment epithelial cell atrophy. JCI Insight.4 2019.