NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Zebrafish screening firm Znomics said yesterday that it is collaborating with the University of Utah’s Huntsman Cancer Institute to develop pre-clinical compounds to treat T-cell leukemia, autoimmune diseases, inflammation, and complications related to organ transplantation.
Znomics said in a statement that it will fund the program and “receive full commercial rights to the discoveries.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Nikolaus Trede, assistant professor in the department of pediatrics at the University of Utah School of Medicine, will work with Znomics researchers to develop proprietary T-cell disease assays in the zebrafish.
The partners will then use these assays to screen the university's library of compounds to identify leads that will be further developed for clinical testing.
Trede is also joining Znomics' scientific advisory board as part of the agreement.
Znomics President and Chief Scientific Officer Roger Cone said in a statement that the zebrafish is a promising platform to identify compounds useful for treating diseases involving T cells “because we can model the biology of the T cell in the whole animal environment."
Znomics CEO Richard Sessions said that the firm plans to have “preclinical compounds for three major diseases by 2010," and that the agreement with the University of Utah “puts us in good position to achieve the goal, possibly even earlier."
Financial terms of the collaboration were not disclosed.