BetaBoston

Norwegian firm opens zebrafish lab in Woburn

Zebrafish photo taken from company website.
Zebrafish photo taken from company website.

Cryogenetics, a Norwegian company that specializes in fish reproduction products and services, is planning to celebrate the opening of a small office and lab in Woburn with a ceremony scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

The Woburn offices and lab will serve as the head office for the company’s US unit and as the company’s main laboratory for services with clients using zebrafish as a model organism.

In a media advisory, Cryogenetics said it “will cryopreserve zebrafish sperm and store the frozen samples on behalf of the clients. The samples will be stored both in the facility in Woburn and at a second location, to ensure a high level of security.”

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Zebrafish are sometimes used in genetics research.

For example, a 2012 story in the Globe noted that researchers at Boston Children’s had a zebrafish with a mutant gene that could potentially allow them to screen for drugs that might help an 11-year-old boy with a mysterious and rare muscle-weakening disease.

“The Boston area was a natural first choice for locating our unit based on the area’s reputation of being the world leading cluster for biotechnological development,” Jorn Ulhiem, managing director of Cryogenetics, said in a statement. “Our Woburn unit is a world class cryopreservation laboratory and the most advanced unit Cryogenetics has constructed. The company expects this lab to become a significant and trusted service provider for the US zebrafish community, setting a new global standard for effective use and backing of valuable genetic lines.”

The 5,400 square-foot facility will house both individual zebrafish tank rooms and separate cryopreservation labs for zebrafish and finfish, the company said in a press release.

Among those expected to attend Thursday’s event are Massachusetts Life Sciences Center president and chief executive Susan Windham-Bannister, MassBio president and chief executive Robert Coughlin, and Children’s Hospital Boston aquatic resources manager Christian Lawrence.

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