Horizon Discovery, Abcam Sign Licensing Deal
Blog Oct 07, 2015
The companies have recently announced an agreement which grants Abcam exclusive access to over 1800 cell line models from Horizon's X-MAN® collection. This human diploid and haploid cell collection, generated using Horizon's genome editing technology and expertise, will allow Abcam to functionally validate current monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies. Horizon will also develop further haploid cell lines as new antibodies are introduced by Abcam.
To discuss this deal in greater detail we spoke to Paul Morrill, President, Products, Horizon Discovery Group.
JR: Can you provide us with an overview of your recently announced agreement with Abcam?
PM: Horizon and Abcam have signed a supply and licensing agreement, under which Horizon will provide access to over 1,800 human diploid and haploid cell line models from its X-MAN® collection. The cell line models will be used by Abcam to aid the functional validation of its existing monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies, marketed to the global research community. Horizon will also develop additional haploid cell lines to validate new antibodies introduced by Abcam. The agreement is worth £660,000 (c$1,000,000) to Horizon across an initial three year term, with a further £1,275,000 (c$1,950,000) across years four to six if Abcam extends the exclusivity period.
JR: Why is the signing of this deal an important step forward for Horizon?
PM: The agreement represents significant progress for Horizon in creating new and scalable channels to market for its cell line products. Abcam’s choice of Horizon’s cell lines to support the development and quality control for their antibody catalogue further validates the value that our cell lines can provide in a variety of applications. We believe that this agreement represents the first step in building a long term relationship with a true world-leader in the research antibody field.
The data generated by Abcam will also add value to Horizon’s cell line collection by providing independent evidence that the cell lines demonstrate the desired functional output of gene editing, and providing time and cost savings for the company’s cell line manufacturing process. The new cell lines generated for Abcam will be available to customers across all of Horizon’s core products and services.
JR: What are the benefits of Horizon's cell lines compared to other similar products?
PM: Horizon’s X-MAN® human diploid and haploid cell line collection is the world’s largest source of genetically-defined, patient-relevant human cell lines. Horizon uses its proprietary precision gene-editing platform, which includes rAAV, CRISPR, and ZFN technologies, alongside deep expertise in understanding the key genetic drivers of disease, to create the X-MAN® disease models. These models help researchers to understand how complex genetic diseases manifest themselves in patients, and can reduce the cost of bringing to market new personalized therapies by streamlining many aspects of drug development.
The X-MAN® diploid Isogenic Cell Line library represents the only available comprehensive bank of human isogenic cell lines that model patient disease genetics. These cell lines are provided with their perfectly matched normal genetic backgrounds as a reference and have undergone a high degree of validation and quality control. This allows researchers to directly compare experimental results between two cell lines with only a single specific genetic modification representing the difference – thereby allowing any variation in results to be directly attributed to that modification without any further validation required.
Horizon’s haploid cellular models offer a biologically relevant system for in vitro genetic analyses of molecular, cellular, and developmental events, but can be much easier to generate than modified diploid cell lines as only one allele needs to be targeted to obtain a complete loss-of-function phenotype. Loss of function analysis through endogenous gene knockouts is a powerful approach for understanding the cellular role of a gene in diseases like cancer.
JR: Can you tell us a little about Horizon’s genome editing platform which was used to generate the X-MAN Cell Lines?
PM: Horizon’s precision gene-editing platform comprises CRISPR, ZFN (Zinc Finger Nucleases) and the Company’s proprietary rAAV (Adeno-Associated Virus) technology. Access to and expertise in this range of technologies enables Horizon to choose the best approach according to the desired genetic modification. For example, the nickase version of CRISPR avoids double strand breaks, and can introduce subtle genomic changes, whereas ZFN is best suited to multi-allelic alterations and rapid knockout generation. The rAAV approach is very precise, and effective for hard to transfect cell lines. Horizon is the only translational genomics company to have access to all three of these technologies. The unique combination of technologies not only enables Horizon to tailor solutions to meet the specific needs of researchers through custom genome-editing projects, and further expanding the X-MAN cell line catalogue, but is also allowing Horizon to explore ways to combine both CRISPR and ZFNs with rAAV, to develop novel approaches that achieve levels of gene-editing efficiency not possible with any single technology.
Horizon has particular strength in the use of CRISPR. We have taken several key pieces of IP including from Harvard, the Broad, and from ERS Genomics to ensure that we have the freedom to operate using CRISPR to develop cell lines (and in vivo models). Further, through our acquisition of Haplogen Genomics in January 2014, we acquired a high throughput infrastructure for the on-demand generation of low cost haploid-based knockout cell lines, placing custom cell line development within the reach of every lab.