The Swiss startup EraCal Therapeutics has signed a research partnership with the Danish pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk to search for treatments controlling food intake and other factors contributing to obesity.
Under the joint project, EraCal and Novo Nordisk will research targets for obesity treatments by identifying molecules that can control appetite and improve metabolic health. The drugs will be screened in an emerging drug discovery model: zebrafish larvae. The CEO of EraCal, Josua Jordi, declined to specify the financial terms of the deal.
Zebrafish have been a hot topic for the drug discovery pipeline since the early 2000s, but it’s only been in the last few years that their utility has matured. As of 2020, there were eight molecules in clinical trials that had been developed in zebrafish.
Preclinical drug development typically involves screening candidate drugs in cultured cells in bulk before testing them in animals, often mice. Zebrafish larvae can be grown in large volumes that are reminiscent of in vitro techniques,
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