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Zygogen Licenses Transgenic Zebrafish Technology To UK-Based DanioLabs Ltd. For Internal Drug Discovery



4/4/2006 12:27:47 PM

ATLANTA, April 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Zygogen, LLC, a biotechnology company that utilizes zebrafish for drug discovery, today announced a non-exclusive, United Kingdom sub-license agreement with DanioLabs for the right to use Zygogen's Z-Tag(SM) technology for internal drug screening. DanioLabs, based in Cambridge, UK, is a drug-discovery company that identifies and develops treatments for neurological and ophthalmic diseases.

The terms of the agreement include license and royalty payments to Zygogen, which is the exclusive licensee of the US/European issued patents, "Transgenic Fish with Tissue-Specific Expression," owned by the Medical College of Georgia. Zygogen uses its proprietary transgenic Zebrafish technology, Z-Tag(SM), to provide in vivo preclinical drug discovery services to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Services include target validation, compound screening and toxicity testing. DanioLabs plans to use Z-Tag technology to develop zebrafish assays for its internal drug discovery programs.

Z-Tag combines the power of the zebrafish's transparent organogenesis with physiologically relevant expression of modified genes and markers to allow the development of quantitative zebrafish assays for automated compound screening.

"We are pleased to license Z-Tag(SM) for use in our integrated drug- discovery process," said Tony Sedgwick, CEO of DanioLabs. "A major component of our research programs involves the use of zebrafish. They are a key tool for obtaining rapid in vivo information related to human disease, which can lead to the development of novel treatments. This technology complements others we have in-house, and will give us an additional system to combine with our chemistry and screening strategies."

As vertebrates, zebrafish embryos are becoming a valued tool for obtaining live animal data early in the drug discovery process. Large numbers of embryos can be arrayed in multi-well plates with nanogram quantities of drug, providing a less expensive and faster screening alternative to mammalian models.

"Zygogen provides access to transgenic zebrafish to a variety of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. For companies such as DanioLabs that already have internal zebrafish capability, we license Z-Tag for internal compound screening, which allows us to expand the revenue-generating opportunities of our technology," said Nina Sawczuk, co-founder and chief executive officer of Zygogen, LLC.

The U.S., European and Australian patents and other foreign patent applications for Z-Tag cover compositions and methods of making and using transgenic zebrafish with tissue-specific expression of a gene. The patent was initially filed in 1997 by Zygogen's scientific founder, Shuo Lin, Ph.D., the sole inventor on this patent. Zygogen also encourages non-commercial research using Z-Tag transgenic zebrafish by academic investigators.

About Zygogen, LLC

Founded in 1999, Atlanta-based Zygogen LLC is a pioneer in the commercialization of zebrafish technology. Zygogen partners with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to provide automated zebrafish screening services using its Z-Tag and Z-Lipotrack technologies. Zygogen established the first ever pharmaceutical partnership using zebrafish for drug discovery (Aventis Pharma, 2002) and continues to be a leader in zebrafish preclinical drug discovery services, including rapid target validation, compound screening and toxicity testing.

Z-Tag enables Zygogen to automate zebrafish compound screening and obtain quantitative data by designing transgenic zebrafish with fluorescently labeled organs and pathways relevant to human disease. For more information, visit: http://www.zygogen.com .

About DanioLabs

DanioLabs is a therapeutics company with a focus on neurologic and ophthalmic disease with a philosophy that focuses around the upfront identification of a compound which has a beneficial effect on a complex phenotype. The Company has developed sophisticated high throughput pharmacology assays based around its zebrafish platform. DanioLabs service group is using these highly predictive assays in safety pharmacology, embryotoxicology, target validation, and activity screening, to bring quality in vivo data to the in vitro stage of the drug discovery and development process to a number of major pharmaceutical companies. DanioLabs therapeutics group is utilising related technologies to generate a rich product pipeline of preclinical and clinical candidates with early in vivo data. For more information, visit: http://www.daniolabs.com .

Zygogen, LLC

CONTACT: Nina Sawczuk of Zygogen, LLC, +1-404-523-7309, nina@zygogen.com ,Tony Sedgwick of DanioLabs, +44 (0) 1223 706460,Tony.Sedgwick@daniolabs.com , or Katie Brazel of Fleishman-Hillard,+1-770-643-0903, brazelk@fleishman.com


Read at BioSpace.com


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