Companies are jointly undertaking a large-scale approach to gene-function analysis.

Artemis Pharmaceuticals signed a research agreement with Merck & Co. to construct a large number of shRNAi-genetically engineered mouse models for the in vivo functional analysis of selected disease-related genes. The agreement represents a significant initiative to undertake a large-scale approach to gene-function analysis using shRNA knock down in genetically engineered mice as models for human biology.

Under the terms of the agreement, Artemis will generate genetically engineered shRNAi knock-down mouse models for Merck using its vector construction, ES cell transfection, and inducible RNAi technology. Merck will provide selected shRNA sequences that correspond to mouse genes that may also play a central role in human diseases. Artemis will use its technologies to achieve constitutive as well as inducible functional down-regulation of the expression of the gene targets provided by Merck.

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