Zebrafish start-up secures CRISPR licence


Rory O'Neill

Zebrafish start-up secures CRISPR licence

peter verreussel / Shutterstock.com

ERS Genomics has agreed to license CRISPR-Cas9 technology to a Barcelona-based start-up which uses a zebrafish-based research model.

ZeClinics announced the deal with ERS, which licenses CRISPR IP owned by Nobel Prize winner Emmanuelle Charpentier, yesterday, February 16.

The Barcelona company uses zebrafish, a small tropical freshwater fish, to analyse molecules for therapeutic effects.

According to ZeClinics, zebrafish are a cheaper and more efficient alternative for preclinical studies of drugs or new molecules, compared to other options such as mice. Drugs are administered directly into the fish’s swimming water, rather than having to be injected. ZeClinics says this saves time and also yields more useful data.

“The zebrafish model is a powerful tool for answering complex questions,” said the company’s CEO, Simone Calzolari, explaining how CRISPR technology will be used in conjunction with the zebrafish model.

“The use of CRISPR tools to modify zebrafish models allows us to streamline functional genomic processes, provide insights into biologically relevant knowledge on diseases. The licence from ERS expands our CRISPR IP portfolio and, alongside the license from the Broad Institute, allows us to push ahead with the application of this advanced technology, ultimately increasing the validity and potency of zebrafish models for the drug discovery process,” Calzolari said.

ERS CEO Eric Rhodes said the latest licensing deal underpinned the company’s efforts to make CRISPR/Cas9 technology as widely available as possible.

“By providing them access to this foundational CRISPR/Cas9 IP, ZeClinics is able to continue to provide valuable preclinical models and services for drug discovery and development,” Rhodes said.

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ERS Genomics, ZeClinics, CRISPR-Cas9, Emmanuelle Charpentier, zebrafish