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Horizon Launches Gene-Engineered Bioproduction Cell Line

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Horizon Discovery Group plc (Horizon) has announced that its Bioproduction division has shipped its first commercially available engineered CHO cell line for use in manufacturing of therapeutic antibodies.

Horizon’s innovative licensing model brings these cutting edge bioproduction cells within reach of companies of all sizes, reducing timelines and costs associated with the development of large molecule drugs (biotherapeutics). The product represents a new revenue stream for the Company in a business area that is anticipated will be a further driver of growth going forward.

Cell line development for the manufacturing of biotherapeutics was not envisaged as a significant revenue stream at the time of Horizon’s IPO, but has since emerged as a significant opportunity allowing the Company to tap into a biomanufacturing market valued at £1.8 billion in 2012 and anticipated to grow to £2.9 billion by 2017.

The Glutamine Synthetase GS system is currently the industry gold standard as it enables use of a metabolic selection process without the need for chemical inhibitors, which are both toxic and expensive. This in turn reduces the timelines associated with identifying specific cells that produce high levels of the biotherapeutic.

Access to cell lines for biomanufacturing has previously been limited by high costs and restrictive licensing conditions. Horizon is adopting a flexible new licensing model with simplified terms and no associated royalties, enabling companies of all sizes to be able to improve their upstream bioprocessing.

This latest development is the first step in Horizon’s strategy towards building a comprehensive Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) bioproduction cell line platform.

Dr. Brian Burke, Business Development Director, Horizon Discovery Group plc, said: “Cell line development has until now been a rate limiting step for improving upstream bioprocessing, particularly for challenging biomolecules. We see this as a key step to drive the potential for personalized medicine.”

Dr. Darrin M. Disley, Chief Executive Officer of Horizon Discovery Group plc, added “This work, based on a previously announced partnership with a major pharmaceutical partner, is a further example of how Horizon leverages customer projects and grant funding to generate revenue, profit and milestones for the business.”