Horizon Discovery Group plc to acquire CombinatoRx service business from Zalicus Inc.


15-05-2014

In a deal worth nearly £5 milllion, Horizon Discovery Group plc today announced it has agreed to acquire the CombinatoRx service business (known as the combination high throughput screening (cHTS) business) and related assets from Zalicus Inc., a biopharmaceutical company. The new business will become Horizon CombinatoRx Incorporated, a wholly owned subsidiary of Horizon.

Adds high-throughput screening, drug combination sciences and scalable bioinformatics expertise to Horizon’s pre-clinical discovery service offering

Cambridge, UK and Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA – 15th May 2014: Horizon Discovery Group plc, the international life science company supplying research tools and services to organizations engaged in genomics research and the development of personalized medicines, today announced it has agreed to acquire the CombinatoRx service business (known as the combination high throughput screening (cHTS) business) and related assets from Zalicus Inc.(Nasdaq Global Market: ZLCS), a biopharmaceutical company that discovers and develops novel treatments for patients suffering from pain, for £4.74m ($8.0m USD). The new business will become Horizon CombinatoRx Incorporated, a wholly owned subsidiary of Horizon.

Horizon CombinatoRx will provide access to the unique cHTS platform and Chalice™ analytics software, which enables the screening and analysis of thousands of complementary drug combinations. By combining the cHTS platform with Horizon’s GENESIS™ (rAAV, CRISPR & ZFN) gene editing platform and X-MAN™ isogenic cell line technology, Horizon CombinatoRx will be able to offer services including novel phenotypic cell-based screens with compound siRNA, shRNA and sgRNA (for CRISPR based screening) libraries. These new services will offer a powerful solution for drug discovery and development organizations to explore the efficacy and mechanistic synergies of thousands of drug combinations, with the potential to identify personalized medicine regimens for the treatment of serious diseases. The business will benefit from expansion of its historical customer base in North America to Europe, Japan and beyond via access to Horizon’s business development infrastructure and an 800+ strong customer base.

Combination therapies are emerging as the standard of care in indications such as cancer, inflammation, diabetes, and infectious disease. The current approach for developing combination therapies at the clinical stage misses the opportunity to identify novel multi-target mechanisms that better address the systems biology of disease and the emergence of resistance. The new services offered by Horizon CombinatoRx address this need by providing a scalable, high throughput combination screening platform, alongside Horizon’s gene editing and drug discovery and development expertise.

The assets acquired by Horizon, developed through a cumulative R&D investment of over $30 million, include two fully integrated robotic screening platforms optimized for combination screening, outstanding customer contracts, the Chalice informatics platform, a highly characterized library of approximately 800 cell lines, and an extensive compound and chemical probe library. Horizon CombinatoRx, Inc. will be located in 23,000 sq. ft. of laboratory and office space in Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA, providing a base for future growth of Horizon business operations in North America.

Jeb Ledell, Vice President of Corporate Operations, Zalicus Inc. will become Chief Operating Officer of the subsidiary, Horizon CombinatoRx Inc., and will lead a dedicated operations and R&D team with decades of experience in combination sciences.  Horizon’s Lydia Meyer Turkson will become Vice President (US) Business Development.

“We have been very impressed by the scientific excellence, passion and resilience of the CombinatoRx service business over many years, and we are delighted to have agreed to acquire the business and assets from Zalicus,”  commented Dr Darrin M Disley, Chief Executive Officer of Horizon Discovery Group plc.  “The scalable and proven cHTS and Chalice platform combined with our world-leading translational genomics technologies significantly broadens the portfolio of discovery research services we can offer to our global customer base. We look forward working with the CombinatoRx team to provide science-driven solutions that will add real value to our customers’ research.”

“I am pleased that Horizon recognizes the value of the cHTS platform, said Mark H.N. Corrigan, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Zalicus. “Importantly, if closed, the sale of cHTS, will increase our cash balance and should provide Zalicus shareholders with a greater ownership position in our previously-announced merger with Epirus Biopharmaceuticals.“

 

About Horizon Discovery Group plc (LSE: HZD)
Horizon is a revenue-generating life science company supplying research tools to organizations engaged in genomics research and the development of personalized medicines. Horizon has a diverse and international customer base approaching 800 organizations, including major pharmaceutical, biotechnology and diagnostic companies as well as leading academic research centers. The Company supplies its products and services into multiple markets, estimated to total in excess of £29 billion by 2015.

Horizon’s core capabilities are built around its proprietary translational genomics platform, GENESIS™, a high-precision and flexible suite of gene editing tools able to alter almost any endogenous gene sequence of human or mammalian cell-lines. Horizon has applied GENESIS™ to create over 550 X-MAN™ cell lines, accurately modeling the disease-causing mutations found in genetically based diseases. These ‘patients-in-a-test-tube’ are being used by customers to identify the effect of individual or compound genetic mutations on drug activity, patient responsiveness, and resistance, which may lead to the successful prediction of which patient sub-groups will respond to currently available and future drug treatments.

In addition, Horizon provides GENASSIST™ CRISPR and rAAV gene editing tools, custom cell line generation services for research and bioproduction applications, quantitative molecular reference standards, contract research and custom screening services, haploid cell lines (through Horizon’s partner Haplogen), and custom shRNA development services and off-the-shelf validated shRNA (through Horizon’s partner Sirion).

Horizon is headquartered in Cambridge, UK, and is listed on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM market under the ticker “HZD”, for further information please visit: www.horizondiscovery.com

About Zalicus Incorporated
Zalicus Inc. (Nasdaq Capital Market: ZLCS) is a biopharmaceutical company that discovers and develops novel treatments for patients suffering from pain.   Zalicus has a portfolio of proprietary clinical-stage product candidates targeting pain and has entered into multiple revenue-generating collaborations with large pharmaceutical companies relating to other products, product candidates and drug discovery technologies.  Zalicus applies its expertise in the discovery and development of selective ion channel modulators and its combination high throughput screening capabilities to discover innovative therapeutics for itself and its collaborators in the areas of pain and oncology. To learn more about Zalicus, please visit www.zalicus.com

About cHTS
cHTS, developed by Zalicus, is a platform which has been used to discover additional product candidates for the Zalicus pipeline or to supplement the pipelines of its partners. It is an integrated and automated system of customized hardware and software for combination high throughput screening (cHTS™) in phenotypic mammalian cell based assays which allows exhaustive combination screening. Together with an analysis platform capable of recognizing and quantifying complementary drug combinations and integrating complex disease, pathway, target and drug information, the platform enables the discovery of specific combinations of drugs with the potential to treat serious diseases.


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Contacts for Horizon

Zyme Communications (Trade and Regional Media)
Katie Odgaard
Tel: +44 (0)7787 502 947
Email: katie.odgaard@zymecommunications.com

Consilium Strategic Communications (Financial Media and Investor Relations)
Amber Bielecka / Mary-Jane Elliott / Jessica Hodgson / Matthew Neal
Tel: +44 (0) 20 3709 5701
Email: horizon@consilium-comms.com

Contacts for Zalicus                                                                                    

Justin Renz, CFO, Zalicus Inc.
Tel: +1 617-301-7575                                         
JRenz@zalicus.com
                   
Gina Nugent
Tel: +1 617-460-3579
gnugent@zalicus.com
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Horizon Discovery Group plc, a UK headquartered global life science company, is a world leader in gene editing and gene modulation.

Horizon Discovery