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Horizon Discovery and H3 Biomedicine collaborate to identify and validate novel cancer targets

30 Apr 2012

Cambridge, UK, and Cambridge, MA, USA, 30 April 2012: Horizon Discovery Ltd (Horizon), a leading provider of research tools to support the development of personalized medicines, and H3 Biomedicine Inc., a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the discovery and development of oncology treatments, today announced they have entered into a collaboration agreement to identify and validate a panel of novel cancer drug targets.

H3 Biomedicine integrates human cancer genomics with next-generation synthetic organic chemistry and tumor biology capabilities to generate a large library of novel small molecule drugs to treat cancer. Horizon will work with H3 Biomedicine to perform target validation experiments identifying critical cancer genome targets whose modulation will have meaningful clinical effect. H3 Biomedicine will carry out early target discovery through preclinical research, while Horizon will implement its three core drug discovery tools to run alongside and support H3 Biomedicine’s discovery biology and chemistry assets and capabilities. The goal will be to rapidly come to definitive decisions on whether or not to progress novel targets into development. Eisai Inc., which is partnered with H3 Biomedicine, will conduct any resulting clinical trials.

Horizon’s discovery tools comprise: rAAV-mediated genome editing (GENESIS™) for precision functional genomics (endogenous gene knock-in and knock-outs); an expanding panel of 400+ X-MAN™ (Mutant And Normal) human isogenic cell lines that model specific target patient genetics and their matched normal genetic backgrounds; extensive cell-based assay development and drug profiling experience.

“The successful development of new personalized medicines depends upon well validated and characterized targets and clearly defined patient populations,” commented Markus Warmuth, President and CEO, H3 Biomedicine. “High attrition rates in clinical trials have been impacting industry for a while. We believe that clinical success starts at target selection and validation. We have elected to work with Horizon because their tools will enable H3 Biomedicine to progress toward identifying the best possible targets for new drugs with the power to have meaningful therapeutic relevance. That may help us to increase clinical success rates and expedite the delivery of new therapies to the patients who need them.”

Darrin M Disley, CEO, Horizon, said, “Horizon and H3 Biomedicine share a common belief that systematically validating mutant genes with clear roles in cancer evolution may help yield rapidly translatable targets and drugs with greater clinical significance. We believe Horizon’s precision genome editing technology, X-MAN™ disease models and drug profiling assets will play an essential role in working toward achieving this goal.”

Under the terms of the agreement H3 Biomedicine will have an exclusive option to acquire ownership of all program assets and intellectual property (IP) that relates to each of the target programs, with the exception of Horizon background IP. Horizon will retain commercial rights over any target program not optioned by H3 Biomedicine. Horizon will receive an initial upfront investment, with additional payments as preclinical and clinical milestones are reached.