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Gene Discovery Technology —

DGI’s Morphant® Technology is a proprietary tool which can significantly decrease the time and money it currently takes in the discovery and preclinical stages of pharmaceutical product development.

Zebrafish Jaw Development
can quickly
which genes
are responsible
for vital
Our Morphant Technology is unequaled in interrupting the activities of genes in vertebrate animals, permitting identification of medically relevant genes whose protein products can be targets of future pharmaceutical drugs.

Morphant Technology represents the most reliable form of RNA interference (RNAi).

Morphant Technology: The Most Reliable Form of RNAi

Morpholino RNAi Chart
DGI Reliably Achieves >90% Knockdown of Gene Expression

Morphant Technology involves the use of specific antisense oligonucleotides to block translation from targeted mRNA molecules in zebrafish. Morphant Technology is thus a method for inhibiting expression of targeted genes in order to determine their function in the development and health of zebrafish. Zebrafish are used as a model for vertebrates. More than 90% of vertebrate genes have the same function in zebrafish as in humans.

DGI has developed several zebrafish assays that apply to angiogenesis, cancer biology, cartilage and bone formation, heart function, innate immune responses, metabolism and pancreas function, neurobiology and wound healing.

Speed — fastest, most efficient method of gene funtion assessment. Identify novel gene functions in just two months.
Reliability — more reliable than RNAi.
Efficiency — potential for great efficiencies in new drug target identification, validation and compound evaluation.
Cost — potential for significant reduction in research costs.
Used internally to discover 15 genes; patents on 6 genes filed.
Service agreements with several major pharma.
Strategic alliance with AngioGenetics AB.
Patent covering the used of specific oligonucleotides to inhibit gene expression filed.
Patent related to assays for gene function using antisense compunds in zebrafish filed.
Six patents covering gene targets related to angiogenesis and bone and cartilage formation filed.

Key Considerations —

Technology Significance:
Advances in genomics have led to an abundance of new targets. Efficient target validation is the critical need of pharmaceutical companies in the post-genomics era. DGI believes its zebrafish system offers the fastest and the most economical means to characterize gene function and identify and validate drug-responsive disease targets.

Application in Compound Evaluation:
DGI’s zebrafish system is uniquely suited for use in compound evaluation. In this application, specific oligonucleotides are used to induce a disease state in the zebrafish to measure the effect of various drug candidates on the disease. Rapid development of the zebrafish enables high-throughput screening of effects of new therapeutics.

Superior System for Genomics Studies:
The zebrafish system, for the first time, combines the advantages of high throughput analysis achievable with invertebrates such as fruit flies and yeast with high applicability to humans achievable with low throughput vertebrate models such as mice. Key benefits of the zebrafish system include:

Relevance to humans – 90% of the human genes are in the zebrafish genome.
Speed – The rapid development cycle of the zebrafish enables determination of gene functions 10-fold faster than can be achieved with similar studies in mice.
Cost – Zebrafish are an economical alternative to mice because of the relatively low cost involved in breeding and maintaining the fish.
Efficiency – Zebrafish embryos are transparent and develop externally allowing non-invasive analysis of gene expression effects in hundreds of embryos.

Reduction in Research Costs:
With its unprecedented speed and efficiency, DGI’s gene discovery technology can streamline drug discovery and effect dramatic reductions in research costs.

Tested Technology:
The technology’s feasibility and value is evidenced through DGI’s discoveries and service relationships. DGI has discovered 15 genes and partially validated and filed patents on six genes related to angiogenesis and bone and cartilage formation. We provide gene function assessment and/or compound evaluation services to major pharmaceutical clients.

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