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Sequitur, Discovery Genomics Ink Zebra Fish Gene-Function Partnership

NEW YORK, Sept. 27 - Sequitur and Discovery Genomics have partnered to screen antisense compounds and study gene function in zebra fish, according to both companies. 

The multiyear agreement calls for Sequitur to use its antisense compounds and high throughput gene expression analysis. Discovery Genomics will bring to the table its functional genomics experience with the zebra fish model. 

According to a statement released on Wednesday, Sequitur, based in Natick, Mass., will retain rights to discoveries of gene function in hematopoiesis, obesity, and orthopedics, while Discovery Genomics, of Minneapolis, will retain rights to gene-function discoveries relating to certain “vertebrate diseases”, including, angiogenesis, studied with the zebra fish model system. 

The deal also allows the companies to offer services to evaluate independent target genes selected by other firms. 

Financial details of the collaboration were not disclosed. 

The zebra fish antisense system allows rapid knockdown of a gene, allowing scientists to evaluate phenotypes in fish embryos in a matter of weeks, the companies said, adding that more than 90 percent of zebra fish genes have human homologs. 

“Rapid gene based knockouts have been the holy grail of developmental biology,” Tod Woolf, Sequitur's president, said in the statement. “The zebra fish system that [Discovery Genomics has] pioneered fulfills this quest.” 

"Sequitur's strong intellectual properties position and leadership role in antisense technology was a key factor in forming this collaboration," noted John Haaland, Discovery Genomics' president and CEO.

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