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Horizon Licenses New X-MAN Cell Lines from the University of Minnesota Relating to T-cell Viral Infections such as AIDS

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Horizon Discovery, has announced that it has secured a worldwide exclusive license for new X-MAN (gene X- Mutant And Normal) cell lines from the University of Minnesota (UMN).

The cell lines include several rAAV engineered T-cell lines, which will extend the X-MAN product line into virology. These cell lines will be used to study the AIDS virus, HIV-1, a related virus called HTLV-1, and both virus-associated and non-viral T-cell leukemias and lymphomas.

In addition, Horizon has announced that it has extended its existing agreement with UMN (announced March 2010) to license a further panel of X-MAN cell lines relating to DNA repair.

The newly licensed T-cell lines are knock-outs of the APOBEC family of genes, which are part of the innate host defense system to T-cell viral infections.

Therefore these cell lines will constitute novel screening tools that can be used to enable researchers to identify molecules that leverage this host defense system to fight viral infections.

They can also be used to identify which members of the APOBEC family are the major determinants of suppression of HIV replication, which will in turn support the identification of other modulators of viral infection.

Under the terms of the license agreement, Horizon will pay UMN up-front and on-going royalty payments, in return for world-wide exclusive rights to distribute these lines.

The agreement forms part of Horizon’s strategy to generate at least 2500 new X-MAN models of cancer, neurodegenerative, and cardiovascular disease.

These models will support drug discovery researchers in their effort to understand how complex genetic diseases manifest themselves in real patients and help rationalize many aspects of drug development, reducing the cost of bringing to market new personalized therapies.

Dr Rob Howes, Principal Scientist at Horizon, said “We are very excited to expand our X-MAN disease models into a new therapeutic area. By providing these new disease models we aim to help the development of new therapies for the treatment of AIDS and T-cell leukaemia”.

Dr Reuben Harris, Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota, said “We are delighted to partner with Horizon to ensure that the cell lines we have worked hard to develop will be used more broadly to fight HIV/AIDS and T cell cancers.”