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Horizon Discovery Talks Gene-Editing

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Horizon Discovery has made some important announcements with regards to their expanded gene editing offerings, which now includes rAAV, ZFN and CRISPR. Here we caught up with Horizon to find out more about their suite of gene-editing services and who could benefit from adopting Horizon expertise in their laboratory.

TN: Please could you tell us a little about Horizon Discovery and the gene-editing services.
Horizon: Horizon is the only translational genomics company able to drive a research program through the application of both nuclease and rAAV-based gene-editing.  We now offer a full suite of gene editing services that include three different technologies: ZFN, CRISPR, and rAAV.   In order to best serve the needs of each client project, we have built a dedicated team of scientists with expertise in the application of all three approaches who can manage projects from the initial planning stages all the way through to characterization of the final cell line.

TN: What types of laboratories and budgets does Horizon cater for, and how do you see this client base evolving in the years to come?
Horizon: Horizon’s gene editing services have traditionally catered to the needs of pharma and biotech, primarily due to cost constraints. However, as the cost of gene editing comes down due to technology improvements and economies of scale, we anticipate greater uptake by academic labs.  We are currently putting into place models that will put custom gene engineering into the reach of academic labs, and we encourage interested researchers to give us a call!

TN: What is it about the Sigma-Aldrich gene-editing technology that appealed to Horizon and placed it above their competitors?
Horizon: Horizon is taking a “technology agnostic” view of gene editing and has thus brought in both ZFN and CRISPR technology to complement our in-house approach, thereby providing our team with the broadest set of gene editing tools available. When combined with our own proprietary rAAV technology, we feel we have the complete range of tools necessary to carry out virtually any kind of genome engineering project, and in fact we are in the unique position to be able to pursue the next generation of gene editing tools by combining the best aspects of multiple approaches.

TN: How will the utilization of Sigma’s ZFN technology benefit Horizon’s existing customers?
Horizon: Horizon can now choose the technology best suited for the task at hand, whether that be rAAV, ZFN or CRISPR, providing us with the flexibility to offer customers a solution matched to their specific needs.  This is particularly true in the case of Knock-Out generation; we are now able to use the most efficient tools available.

TN: What advice would you give to researchers who are currently unsure what to do about their gene-editing and cell line generation outsourcing needs?
Horizon: We believe that there is no single gene editing approach that adequately meets the needs of all projects.  By offering expertise in the use of three editing platforms, we can bring the best solution to a client’s particular needs.   Researchers should also consider what additional support they need.  Will they need their cell line characterized?  Would they like more than just the reagent, for example would they like a partner to perform the plating, screening and single-cell dilution?  Would they like the cell line genomically validated before they receive it?  And would they like end to end planning and support from experts in gene editing?  If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then I’d advise them to give us a call.

Please click below to view related press releases:

Horizon Licenses CRISPR Gene Editing Technology from Harvard University

Horizon Licenses ZFN Gene Editing Technology from Sigma-Aldrich