Horizon Discovery (Horizon) today announced it has signed two commercial agreements with a ground-breaking U.S. cancer start-up; Agios Pharmaceuticals (Agios), relating to its X-MAN technology.
Horizon’s X-MAN (Mutant And Normal) cell-line technology provides the first genetically-defined and patient-relevant in vitro models of human cancer. These models are being used by a growing number of Pharma and Biotech companies to rationalize key steps of the ‘targeted’ drug development process, and thus accelerate and economize the burgeoning field of ‘personalised’ medicine.
The agreements cover the licensing of certain X-MAN cell lines including major cancer causing genes and their matched normal genetic backgrounds and the screening of a number of Agios lead compounds on a wide panel of genotypes. The approach should enable Agios to: (a) understand how key oncogenic pathways of cancer cells survive in tumors that are often starved of nutrients as they continue to expand and; (b) to predict genomic makeup of tumors in the responsive patient types.
“Dr Chris Torrance, CEO of Horizon says “it has always been our aim combine our novel patient-relevant cancer models with exciting new start-up technologies; in Agios’ case, the aim is to target cancer energy sources, to increase the ways we can attack this diverse genetic disease. In this expandable agreement, we hope to build a long and productive relationship with Agios in this exciting area of research.”
”At Agios, we are committed to utilizing innovative technologies to rapidly advance the discovery and development of novel therapeutics in the field of cancer metabolism, and are looking forward to a highly productive relationship utilizing the X-MAN technology,” said Michael Su, VP of Drug Discovery.
Agios will pay Horizon undisclosed up-front and renewal fees during the term of the agreements. Work between the parties will begin in October 2008.