MDI Biological Laboratory of Bar Harbor Credit: Courtesy of MDI Biological Laboratory

BAR HARBOR, Maine  — A Maine science lab is launching a new initiative that will try to enhance drug discovery and development without using mammals.

MDI Biological Laboratory in Bar Harbor said the new initiative will be called MDI Bioscience. The lab said the effort will help minimize use of animals such as mice and rats in drug development.

James Strickland, who will direct MDI Bioscience, said one of the goals of the initiative is to “better inform early decision-making in drug discovery such that there is a higher probability that drugs will be successful in the future.” He said non-mammal models include zebrafish and nematode worms.

The lab said MDI Bioscience will first focus on drugs to treat kidney diseases and then expand to diseases that affect the heart, liver as well as metabolic conditions and neurological diseases.

Correction: A previous version of this story had the incorrect lab in the featured photo.