Horizon secures world-wide exclusive patent position on core GENESIS platform


Horizon Discovery today announced it has secured world-wide exclusive rights to a key genetic process behind its GENESIS platform used to create highly patient-relevant disease models, called X-MAN cell-lines.

Horizon’s rapidly expanding number (100+) of X-MANTM (Mutant And Normal) cell models allow drug discovery researchers to understand how cancer manifests itself in real patients and develop personalised medicines, diagnostics and theranostic tests that will enable future doctors to tailor individual treatment regimes and follow-up care to the specific needs of cancer patient.

Underlying GENESIS, is a novel viral-based gene-engineering technology discovered and patented by the University of Washington, which is absolutely essential to generating X-MAN lines efficiently and reproducibly; and now Horizon have exclusive rights to it. 

The use of adeno-associated viruses (AAV) in gene engineering was first considered as a means to perform gene-therapy in humans, but Horizon founders, Chris Torrance and Alberto Bardelli, have now brought this technology more widely into the drug discovery process by using it to create accurate patient models; which will help rationalize all aspects of drug development, and therefore the final cost of new cancer therapies.

Chris Torrance, CEO of Horizon Discovery say “Drug discovery researchers are rapidly realizing the power of our X-MAN models, as evidenced by the number and size of deals we have been able to sign with leading Pharma players in the short space of time since the company's inception.  It was our aim moving forward to ensure we are not deflected from our mission to bring greater benefits to cancer patients who need new and cheaper personalized medicines, by securing our technology base at an early stage.  In 2009, we will disseminate our technology (and the products and services based upon it) to all levels of academic, industrial and clinical research and begin the process of co-opting the support of healthcare and political leaders; critical in implementing changes in how personalized treatments are discovered and administered."

Dr Darrin M Disley, Commercial Director of Horizon says “we are delighted to have secured an exclusive world-wide license for GENESIS covering our core business applications in drug discovery, biomarker discovery and diagnostic development across the therapeutic spectrum. The use of AAV in the development of patient predictive disease models is gaining wide-spread adoption in academia, Biotech and Pharma. Recent announcements by Pharma giants like Novartis covering the deployment of in-vitro disease models to predict measurable markers and responses that could apply in areas like oncology and genetic diseases is significant as they have made the link that deployment of patient-relevant human isogenic somatic models could allow mid-stage trials to be shortened or even, in some cases, omitted completely resulting in a significant shortening of the expensive clinical trials process. Genesis and X-MAN technology will enable this approach to be adopted widely across an industry that is ready to adopt a more rational and patient-centric approach to early to mid-stage drug discovery.”


About Horizon Discovery

Horizon Discovery is a translational genomics company founded in June 2007 and is headquartered at the Babraham Research Campus, Cambridge, UK and with additional research laboratories in Torino, Italy. Horizon’s goal is to convert new information on the genetic causes of cancer into laboratory models that will facilitate the discovery of drugs that target these defects. Central to this aim is Horizon Discovery’s offering of isogenic cell-lines, which represent accurate models of defined cancer patient populations and their matched normal genetic backgrounds – a missing link in the rational and efficient development of novel targeted anti-cancer agents.


Contact: Dr Darrin M Disley on +44 (0)1223 303049 or +44 (0)7786 133893




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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