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12:00 AM
 | 
Jul 30, 2001
 |  BioCentury  |  Emerging Company Profile

Zygogen: The 96-well fish

Companies with integrated drug discovery programs continually search for ways to identify and validate targets and leads most efficiently. Zygogen LLC believes that the value of model organisms at many stages of this process remains relatively untapped. The company is developing fluorescently tagged zebrafish that it plans to use as screening tools to identify protein targets and determine function, and use in high throughput formats for drug screening.

"They will be a powerful technology, but the key is to know when and where to use them," said CEO Nina Sawczuk. "We will concentrate in our areas of therapeutic focus, including angiogenesis, neurodegeneration, and thrombosis, that lend themselves to this technology."

Using its Z-tag technology, Zygogen has produced stable transgenic zebrafish lines with fluorescent organs or tissues, including blood, neurons, thymus and olfactory system. Z-tag involves injecting tissue-specific promoters fused to a gene for green-fluorescent protein (GFP) into zebrafish embryos. The fluorescence makes the morphology of these tissues easier to track, and different intensities of fluorescence in a tissue can signal...

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