Inside the X-MAN: Crack University of Liverpool Scientists to Mine Horizon’s Patient Relevent Models

19 Oct 2009

Horizon Discovery (Horizon) has entered into a research collaboration with the University of Liverpool to identify and validate novel cancer targets and biomarkers for personalized cancer therapy and diagnostics.

Horizon is continuing the process of enabling key academic investigators with its panel of over 150 proprietary genetically-defined isogenic human disease models, with the aim of accelerating the search for new patient-focused drug targets and theranostic biomarkers that could deliver more effective ‘personalized’ medicines.

Professor Michael Clague at the University of Liverpool is a world leader the study of a novel class of cancer targets called deubiquitinases that regulate protein stability. Additionally he has established a proteomics platform that allows “global” characterization of molecular signatures within cancer cells.

Horizon’s panels of X-MAN™ (Mutant And Normal) cell-lines represent the first accurate and genetically-defined in vitro models of specific cancer patient populations; and Professor Clague will mine these cellular disease models for unique protein-biomarker signatures. The objectives of the research program are to identify and validate biomarkers that can aid existing drug discovery programmes and to determine whether deubiquitanses represent novel targets in patient populations harboring known cancer mutations such as K-Ras, PI3K, PTEN and EGFR.

Dr Chris Torrance, CEO of Horizon says “It has always been our desire to get our cancer models into the hands of established experts in complimentary research and technology fields. Horizon was borne of academia and by working in this collaborative way we can provide academics with access to world-class tools so they are able to bring new treatment options and strategies into the clinic as fast as possible”. Torrance also goes on to say “Professor Clague represents a leading researcher on protein regulation mechanisms and is ideally placed to define novel targets and biomarkers that will help maximize the benefits of targeted therapies in cancer patients”.

Professor Michael Clague says “We are delighted to enter into collaboration with Horizon. As soon as I became aware of the cell lines they had created, it was obvious that they would greatly facilitate our research programme. I am pleased it has been so straightforward to establish a great relationship with the company.”

Commercial details of the transaction remain confidential with the work program beginning in November 2009.