Phylonix granted broad US patent for assessing cardiac functions in zebrafish

March 15, 2009

Baltimore, MD - March 15, 2009 - Phylonix Pharmaceuticals announced, at the Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting beginning today in Baltimore, that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued the company a broad patent for assessing the toxicity of pharmaceutical test agents on cardiovascular functions in zebrafish. U.S. Patent No. 7,482,507, "Methods for Screening Agents for Activity Using Teleosts," which has 22 claims, includes assessment of heart rate in zebrafish and use of microplates for high-throughput screening.

"Although the pharmaceutical industry and the Food and Drug Administration have increased scrutiny of drug-related cardiotoxicity, especially drug effects on prolonging QT interval, there is currently a gap in technologies for preclinical cardiotoxicity assessment," commented Patricia McGrath, Phylonix President and Chief Executive Officer. "Our panel of zebrafish-based assays will bridge this gap by enabling thorough assessment of cardiotoxicity during early stages of drug development.

"This award complements our previously issued patents for assessing angiogenesis, apoptosis, and toxicity in zebrafish, use of high-throughput screening methods, and transplantation of human cells for drug testing and disease modeling," she continued.

Advantages of Zebrafish for Assessing Cardiotoxicity

The two-chamber zebrafish heart develops rapidly; a beating heart forms within 22 hours of fertilization and exhibits a complex repertoire of ion channels and functional metabolism. By 48 hours, the cardiovascular system in zebrafish is functional. Zebrafish and mammalian hearts have been shown to share highly conserved molecular mechanisms and functional characteristics. The transparent zebrafish is particularly amenable to cardiotoxicity testing. Because the heart is visible on the ventral surface of the zebrafish and individual cells are easily resolved, defects in the cardiovascular system can be assessed visually. Compared to testing in other animal models, statistically significant numbers of zebrafish can be used for each assay and a relatively small amount of drug is required.
About Phylonix

Phylonix, located in Cambridge, MA, is a biotechnology company developing and marketing novel in vivo zebrafish-based assays, eZ-ScreenTM, for assessing drug candidates for cancers, central nervous system disorders, cardiovascular diseases, apoptosis, and organ toxicity. The company's business strategy is to leverage the speed and cost-effectiveness of the zebrafish model to provide services for biopharmaceutical companies, including screening services and partnerships for drug discovery and repositioning. For information on licensing options contact Edward O'Lear, Vice President of Finance and Business Development at or 617-441-6700 ext 302.


Phylonix will present: "Assessment of Ototoxicity and Otoprotection in a Zebrafish Hair Cell Model" in a podium presentation on Tuesday at 10:36 am in room 308. In addition, two posters will be presented: "Assessment of Drug Induced Cardiotoxicity in Transparent Zebrafish" on Monday afternoon (390 Poster / Board 207) and "Zebrafish: A Predictive Model for Assessing P-Glycoprotein Inhibitors" on Tuesday morning (983 Poster / Board 534). Phylonix will exhibit at ToxExpo in Booth 2950 from Monday, March 16 through Wednesday, March 18.

Phylonix Pharmaceuticals

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