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EPA Selects Phylonix to Screen Compound Library in Zebrafish

Cambridge, MA (April 12, 2007) - Phylonix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced it has been awarded a major, two-year contract for up to $4.3 million by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of the agency’s ToxCast™ project to correlate compounds having known toxicities with biological activities in a zebrafish test system.

“We are very pleased that the EPA has chosen Phylonix to participate in the ToxCast™ project because it validates our significant capabilities and the superior quality of our eZ-Screens™ zebrafish-based assays,” stated Patricia McGrath, Phylonix President and Chief Executive Officer. “The ToxCast award is further confirmation that this model organism can be used to predict compound effects in humans. In addition, the contract will complement our work performed for the pharmaceutical industry to assess toxicity and efficacy for preclinical studies.”

The EPA is exploring the use of zebrafish as a screening tool to complement the biochemical, cellular, genomic and metabolomic assays that will be the basis of the ToxCast project being developed by the agency for use in prioritization of potential environmental toxicants for further study. The National Center for Computational Toxicology (NCCT) of the Office and Research and Development of EPA has made multi-year awards to eight companies, including Phylonix, for the generation of High Throughput Screening (HTS) data in support of the ToxCast™ program. It is estimated there are more than 10,000 environmental chemicals from EPA programs that need prioritizing for further testing.

There is considerable interest in using zebrafish as a model organism of vertebrate biology because of the accessibility of their central nervous system, digestive system, and cardiovascular system to functional study during compound exposure in relatively high-throughput format. All essential components of vertebrate form and organ development are mimicked in the transparent zebrafish and their molecular basis is either identical or similar, underscoring the potential for use in research on human developmental toxicity.

The initial goal for the Phylonix component of the ToxCast™ program is to correlate compounds having known toxicities with biological activities in zebrafish test systems. Numerous mechanisms and effects of toxicity will be studied, including central nervous system, cardiovascular system and digestive system development/toxicity.

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