Researchers have genetically modified chickens that can lay eggs that contain drugs for arthritis and some cancers, reports the BBC.

The drugs are 100 times cheaper to produce when laid than when manufactured in factories.

The researchers believe that in time production can be scaled up to produce medicines in commercial quantities.

The chickens do not suffer and are “pampered” compared to farm animals, according to Dr Lissa Herron, of Roslin Technologies in Edinburgh.

“They live in very large pens. They are fed and watered and looked after on a daily basis by highly trained technicians, and live quite a comfortable life.

“As far as the chicken knows, it’s just laying a normal egg. It doesn’t affect its health in any way, it’s just chugging away, laying eggs as normal.”

Scientists have previously shown that genetically modified goats, rabbits and chickens can be used to produce protein therapies in their milk or eggs. The researchers say their new approach is more efficient, produces better yields and is more cost-effective than these previous attempts.

“Production from chickens can cost anywhere from 10 to 100 times less than the factories. So hopefully we’ll be looking at at least 10 times lower overall manufacturing cost” said Dr Herron.

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