A platform for in vivo nuclear receptor (NR) drug screening and the discovery of new pathways in metabolic disease and cancer


Competition: Québec / Ontario Program 2012
Funding: $550,000 / 3 years
Beginning: September 2014

Drug discovery is long and expensive, and many drugs that pass through traditional screening fail in development or after approval. Pharmaceutical companies are looking for ways to make the screening process more accurate and cost-effective, thereby enhancing the drug development success rate. We have developed a novel, live animal, drug screening platform that can visualize and isolate drugs that target a family of human proteins called nuclear receptors. These nuclear receptors control important physiological processes in the body such as metabolism and behavior, and are important drug targets for metabolic disease, cancer and other diseases. Our platform uses lines of genetically modified zebrafish, each representing a different human nuclear receptor. While we can make lines for all nuclear receptors, we will focus on those nuclear receptors most implicated in the treatment of metabolic disease and cancer. These lines will be used to screen for new natural hormones and active drugs which, in turn, will be used to identify the genes and pathways that control normal and disease processes. This collaboration brings an innovative approach to nuclear receptor drug discovery and genetic pathway analysis, and will benefit the pharmaceutical industry and patients by enabling the discovery and development of safe and effective disease management options.

Vincent Giguère

McGill University

Henry Krause

InDanio Biosciences Inc.


Jens Tiefenbach
InDanio Biosciences Inc.


J. Richard Miller
Early Discovery Pharmacology,
Merck & Co.

Thomas Schroeter
Senior Principal Scientist,