Horizon Discovery commissioned to find drug candidates by European Stem Cell Consortium


Horizon Discovery today announced it has signed a six figure (€) commercial discovery services contract with the Migrating Cancer Stem Cell’s Framework-6 consortium, headed by Prof. Riccardo Fodde from the Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

The 12 month programme will see Horizon screen a compound library for agents that selectively kill cell-types harboring genes or pathways that are found to be activated in cancer stem cells. The focus will be on the mutant PI3K and β-catenin genotypes as pathways that have been well characterized to have a major influence over cancer cell migration, metastasis, cell-viability and drug resistance – all primary hallmarks of the cancer stem cell compartment.

Screens will be performed on a panel of human cancer cell-lines produced using Horizons proprietary gene engineering technology ‘GENESIS’. This technique allows the creation of human cell-line pairs harboring a specific mutated cancer allele versus a matched isogenic normal genetic background.

Chris Torrance, CEO of Horizon says “our goal is to screen compound libraries of previously approved drugs on novel matched-tumour vs. normal ‘isogenic’ cell-lines, and thus potentially find rapid new ways to selectively treat cancer stem cells”.

Professor Riccardo Fodde says “we tasked Horizon Discovery with this remit because they have a unique pedigree in performing ‘isogenic’ cell-based screens for novel cancer drug candidates”

The research programme began on 9th June 2008.



Horizon Discovery Group plc, a UK headquartered global life science company, is a world leader in gene editing and gene modulation.

Horizon Discovery