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Horizon Discovery Group plc and Axol Bioscience Ltd announce strategic partnership

24 Nov 2015 | Press release

  • Agreement initially focuses on generation of gene edited induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) for use in neuronal and cardiovascular disease research
  • Brings together Horizon’s precision genome editing capability and Axol’s expertise in iPSC differentiation

Cambridge, UK 24 November 2015: Horizon Discovery Group plc (LSE:HZD) (Horizon), the international life science company supplying research tools and services to organizations engaged in genomics research and the development of personalized medicines, and Axol Bioscience Ltd (Axol), a biotechnology company specializing in the use of stem cell technology to manufacture disease relevant cell based assay systems, announce they have formed a strategic partnership for the delivery of off-the-shelf and on-demand genomically modified and differentiated iPS cells.

The relationship brings together Horizon’s precision genome editing capability and Axol’s expertise in iPSC reprogramming and differentiation to provide isogenic cell lines for neuronal and cardiovascular disease research. Both companies will jointly market and sell the products and services derived from the partnership.

Initially, Horizon and Axol will work together to generate matched isogenic pairs of normal and diseased models, encompassing clinically relevant mutations. The originating iPSCs will be derived from a number of patient genetic backgrounds and then selectively modified into neuronal or cardiac cells to examine the effects of the changes. These renewable isogenic cell lines will be the first of their kind in the neuronal space. Custom requests to customer specifications will also be accepted.

“iPSCs are becoming a key component of neuronal and cardiovascular research due to their stability as compared with primary cells, and hence the ability to perform genomic modifications on them,” commented Eric Rhodes, Chief Technology Officer, Horizon Discovery. “The partnership with Axol and resulting isogenic cell lines will offer the ability to assess the effects of disease specific mutations against a fixed genetic background, for the first time in these disease areas.”

Sanj Kumar, Chief Business Officer, Axol Bioscience, said: “This partnership builds on Axol’s strong position in the use of stem cell technology, and the combination of Horizon’s gene editing expertise with Axol’s experience in working with iPSCs will offer valuable new tools for researchers.”

The partnership has the potential to be extended to a wide range of different disease areas and cell phenotypes. Financial terms are not disclosed.