Horizon Discovery Signs License Agreement with ProteoNic B.V. for the Provision of Expression Vectors Alongside Horizon Bioproduction Cell Lines

07 Jun 2016 | Press release

  • Horizon’s GS null cell lines now include ProteoNic CHOGUN vector as standard
  • Inclusion of vector provides customers with complete biomanufacturing platform

Cambridge, UK 6 June 2016: Horizon Discovery Group plc (LSE: HZD) ("Horizon"), the world leader in the application of gene editing technologies including bioproduction cell lines, today announces it has entered into a non-exclusive Licensing Agreement with ProteoNic B.V. to provide the CHOGUN expression vector to customers alongside Horizon’s HD-BIOP3 GS Null CHO cell line as standard, providing a powerful and complete biomanufacturing platform.

When paired with the correct vector technology, a GS Null cell line increases the stringency of selection and enables identification of clones expressing biotherapeutic product at commercially viable levels, with reduced timelines and without the need for toxic Methionine Sulphoximine (MSX) as a selection agent.

Biomanufacturing in CHO cells is performed based on high-expressing clones, the identification of which can be streamlined through the use of metabolic selection. Glutamine is an amino acid required for cellular viability and the only source of glutamine production in the cell is through the enzymatic action of Glutamine Synthetase (GS). MSX inhibits GS activity in cells so that only those clones that are most efficient at producing recombinant protein are able to proliferate. A major drawback with this approach however, is that MSX is toxic and requires removal during product purification.

A preferred approach is to start with a cell line that lacks GS entirely (GS Null). When the gene for a biotherapeutic product is provided on a vector alongside GS, such as in the CHOGUN vector, production of GS is linked to the production of the protein of interest, and so cells that survive selection are more likely to be expressing the product at high levels.

The CHOGUN vector has been developed as part of the ProteoNic 2G UNic™ technology which comprises proprietary mammalian expression vectors and plug-in elements that affect different aspects of the protein production pathway. The combination of elements in the 2G UNic vectors provide a synergistic enhancement enabling the generation of high yield stable cell lines.

Paul Morrill, President, Products at Horizon Discovery Group commented: “Horizon’s GS Null CHO cell line, generated through the Company’s gene editing platform, has undergone extensive validation to confirm its suitability for biomanufacturing. By including ProteoNic’s powerful expression vector, we are now able to offer customers a complete platform that showcases the full capabilities of these cells.”

Victor Schut, Chief Business Officer, ProteoNic said: “The CHOGUN vector has proven to be extremely effective in a variety of cell lines including Horizon’s GS Null CHO cell line. We are excited to offer it to Horizon’s customers, providing another channel to access the 2G UNic technology for improved recombinant protein production. We believe that this platform is an attractive alternative for any other therapeutics, including biosimilars, producing system in the market today. We look forward to continuing to work together on future projects.”

Financial details of the agreement are not disclosed.