Horizon Discovery (Horizon) today announced it has entered into a four-year strategic collaboration with Novartis. This is the second business agreement between the companies and sees the use of Horizon’s proprietary GENESIS™ gene-engineering platform to develop a broad panel of custom generated genetically-defined human ‘X-MAN™’ cancer models for deployment in Novartis’s drug discovery research programs.
X-MAN ‘Mutant And Normal’ cell-lines may represent a missing link in the rational discovery of modern cancer therapies that aim to better target the root causes of cancer. X-MAN models provide researchers with the first consistent source of human cell-types that harbor a specific cancer causing gene (or genes), as they occur in the real patient, plus a matched reference normal cell as a control. This opens the possibility of: earlier definition of appropriately targeted drug candidates and; the design of streamlined clinical trials based around the patients most likely to respond.
Dr Chris Torrance, CEO of Horizon says “the comprehensive nature of this collaboration with Novartis, who are at the forefront of research into new and improved targeted and personalized cancer therapeutics, is a significant breakthrough for our company. Horizon’s proprietary GENESIS platform enables the routine generation of a wide-range of human disease models that were difficult or impossible to generate using historical gene-engineering techniques.” Torrance goes on to say “We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with Novartis.”
Through its agreements, Novartis pays Horizon undisclosed up-front, milestone and renewal fees.