In the late 1980s, Umbrella USA's bioweapons project had reached an impasse. While their β ("Beta)" strain could create mutants like the Hunter and Cerberus which could be trained in the manner of dogs, the Arklay Laboratory team under Dr. William Birkin advanced their research towards B.O.W.s of human intelligence. The new ε ("Epsilon") strain was developed to limit the amount of intelligence lost during t-Virus mutations in humans. With this new strain, the Tyrant Project was born, named after the virus.
Though the research team had hopes their Tyrants would far outclass any bio-weapon, the ε strain would only mutate humans if they possessed a certain gene only present in one in ten million people. Umbrella was lucky enough to find several candidates for the Tyrant Project under the development code "T-002". These men, prisoners, were each infected with the virus and subjected to surgeries to help their bodies cope. Only one survived the process.[excerpt 1]
Research on T-002 continued for the next several years, even after the Collapse of the Soviet Union provided Umbrella with Col. Sergei Vladimir, who's clones were participants in the T-103 project. As late as 1998, the Arklay team now under Dr. John Clemens had full expectations T-002 would be tested against trained soldiers.