Functional genomics depends on the right experimental organism in which to study particular aspects of gene function. An unknown gene in the wrong model system may remain unknown, whereas in the right system the same gene might be identified as a candidate drug target.

Exelixis Pharmaceuticals Inc. hopes to ensure that it has the right system for any gene by investing in a new German company, Artemis Pharmaceuticals AG, which has been established with zebrafish and mouse genetics. The deal adds vertebrate genetics to the Exelixis repertoire (see Commentary, A4).