Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Quack of the week: Simon Brodie


I was reading an old copy of new scientist while having coffee the other day and I read about Allerca, a company which had promised hypoallergenic cats back in 2004 for about $3500 a piece, not including a 250 non refundable deposit. I was aware of the offering, since it was widely reported in the media, even winning Time magazine's invention of the year. In fact even nature reported on it. But what I didn't know was that it is a complete scam. While the allergic protein has been identified, Fel d1, no KO cats have been engineered. The company claims to have a naturally occurring mutant, however it is unclear what the mutation is, and whether it is sufficient to dampen the allergy. Furthermore, no trials or peer reviewed science has been conducted. If that wasn't worrying enough the individual behind the company, Simon Brodie, has had a shady past, sometimes using pseudonyms to conduct business, often fake biotech companies. One of his other project was to make a GFP-deer, so that the wouldn't get hit by cars at night. wow. Not surprisingly a hypoallergenic cat as yet to be seen after over 3 years. I feel bad for all the people who put a deposit. Actually I don't, anyone stupid enough to pay $4000 for a cat, when animal shelters are full, is asking for it...


7 comments:

Dominic B. said...

Could not agree more! But remember that people were paying to have an hypoallergenic cat....you probably do not find these in shelters! Right?

Anonymous Coward said...

Actually, that's the funny thing, the scientists interviewed to comment about allerca said that given the number of cats out there there and the variability, there probably is a hypoallergic cat, a gold mine, in someone's home, without anyone noticing...

Brigitte said...

There are breeds of cats, the Siberian for one, that are currently being tested for hypoallergenicity. It seems that ~40% of Siberians are lacking that protein. Seems possible to me that Brodie sourced one of those cats and simply bred it, and ran blots on progeny saliva samples to find the ones he'd sell for thousands. It's not rocket science, just efficient hype and marketing.

llewtrah said...

Brodie has a long history of selling other people's products or selling non-existent products

http://www.messybeast.com/asheras.htm

The Asheras he shipped overseas were proven by DNA to be F1 Savannah cats from a Savannah breeder

http://ashera-savannah-cat.blogspot.com/

He's now changed his name to Simon Carradan and moved into selling luxury skis in Montana

More on Carradan Skis here, here and here

Anonymous said...

Simon Francis Campbell Brodie Carradan is a crook, yet the authorities do nothing. This guy does more damage than a barrelful of meth addicts.

Anonymous said...

Seriously... What a JERK!

but I have to agree, anyone that would pay $4k for a pet, needs to get a life - why animals? why NOT spend all that energy on bettering your HUMAN contacts. Animals are GROSS! I guess humans are too, but... animals? they eat their feces, and then lick you - SICK!

Anonymous said...

@Previous comment.

I am sure you pooped in your diaper once, that's pretty gross.:)

If you care for animals, and would love to have an experience with one, go for it. Companions are great, I am actually looking to spend $1000.00 on a bengal kitten. An animal worth a lot of money tends to have a special aspect to it. Don't get me wrong. I have owned 4 cats, 4 dogs. And they are all living long and strong.