The X-MAN steps out: Horizon Discovery sign screening and license agreements with Agios Ph...


Horizon Discovery (Horizon) today announced it has signed two commercial agreements with a ground-breaking US cancer start-up Agios Pharmaceuticals (Agios), relating to its X-MAN technology.

Horizon’s X-MAN (Mutant And Normal) cell-line technology provides the first genetically-defined and patient-relevant in vitro models of human cancer. These models are being used by a growing number of Pharma and Biotech companies to rationalize key steps of the ‘targeted’ drug development process, and thus accelerate and economize the burgeoning field of ‘personalised’ medicine.

The agreements cover the licensing of certain X-MAN cell lines including major cancer causing genes and their matched normal genetic backgrounds and the screening of a number of Agios lead compounds on a wide panel of genotypes. The approach should enable Agios to: (a) understand how key oncogenic pathways of  cancer cells survive in tumors that are often starved of nutrients as they continue to expand and; (b) to predict genomic makeup of tumors in the responsive patient types

“Dr Chris Torrance, CEO of Horizon says “it has always been our aim combine our novel patient-relevant cancer models with exciting new start-up technologies; in Agios’ case, the aim is to target cancer energy sources, to increase the ways we can attack this diverse genetic disease.  In this expandable agreement, we hope to build a long and productive relationship with Agios in this exciting area of research”

”At Agios, we are committed to utilizing innovative technologies to rapidly advance the discovery and development of novel therapeutics in the field of cancer metabolism, and are looking forward to a highly productive relationship utilizing the X-MAN technology,” said Michael Su, VP of Drug Discovery.

Agios will pay Horizon undisclosed up-front and renewal fees during the term of the agreements. Work between the parties will begin in October 2008.

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


About Agios Pharmaceuticals

Agios Pharmaceuticals is the first biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of novel therapeutics in the emerging field of cancer metabolism, which represents a breakthrough understanding of how cancer cells adapt to use more nutrients than normal cells to promote their survival and growth. Agios’ primary focus is in oncology, but the company’s platform will also be applicable to other therapeutics areas including autoimmune, inflammatory and neurological diseases. The Company’s founders represent the core thought leaders in the field of cancer metabolism, responsible for key advances, insights and discoveries in the field. Agios Pharmaceuticals is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  For more information, please visit the company's website at



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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