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Horizon Discovery licenses Zinc finger nuclease gene editing technology from Sigma-Aldrich

03 Sep 2013

Horizon to utilize both nuclease and rAAV gene editing platforms in custom cell-line generation services and creation of genetically-defined cell line products

Cambridge, UK, 03 September 2013: Horizon Discovery (Horizon), a leading provider of research tools to support the development of personalized medicines, today announced it has entered into a non-exclusive license agreement with Sigma-Aldrich (Sigma) for use of their CompoZr ® zinc finger nuclease (ZFN) technology. The deal gives Horizon the commercial freedom to apply the technology alongside its proprietary rAAV technology in its gene-editing service and cell line product business units.

Horizon will immediately begin using ZFN technology as part of its unique custom cell line generation service, where both ZFN and rAAV technologies will be applied, either independently or in combination, to deliver the full spectrum of genomic modifications as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. The offering will be marketed under Horizon’s precision gene-editing brand GENESIS™.

Dr Darrin Disley, CEO of Horizon, said: “Horizon is a full service translational genomics company with its business activities encompassing the identification of the genetic drivers of disease, the creation of human disease models and their deployment in the development of targeted molecular therapeutics. I am delighted that we can now apply both ZFN and rAAV gene editing to give our customers a gold standard and technology agnostic cell-line generation service.”

Eric Rhodes, CTO of Horizon who has 15 years’ experience in ZFN and rAAV gene-editing technology, said: “Nuclease based approaches are particularly adept at achieving rapid and efficient knock-out of two or more alleles, making them a perfect complement to Horizon’s proprietary rAAV-based precision gene-editing platform. Our scientists have the expertise and now an unrivalled toolset to help guide customers towards the approach that best answers their biological question and/or suits their timescale and budget.”

Dr Paul Brooks, Global Market Segment Manager at Sigma Life Science, commented: “We are pleased that Horizon will be using their expertise to apply both gene editing technologies side by side for the benefit of the research community. The exploitation of these proven technologies is a key step in capitalizing on the wealth of genomic information now available, and in applying this to real drug discovery and development programs.”

Under the terms of the deal, Horizon will obtain ZFNs manufactured by Sigma for use in commercial development of cell based products and to provide commercial gene editing services.

Financial terms were not disclosed.