Horizon Discovery Establishes Three New Centers of Excellence for rAAV Mediated Gene Editing in Asia

04 Mar 2013
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Horizon Discovery (Horizon), a leading provider of research tools to support the development of personalized medicines, today announced it has established three new Centers of Excellence (CoE’s) for gene editing in Asia. The new Centers are at Aichi Cancer Center, Japan, Seoul National University, South Korea, and the National Cancer Centre (NCC), Singapore. Horizon will support the three research centers in their application of its proprietary gene engineering technology, GENESIS™, to generate human isogenic cell lines harboring specific genes/mutations relating to cancer.

The Aichi Cancer Center is Horizon’s third CoE in Japan, and will focus on elucidation of the molecular mechanisms of viral proliferation and oncogenesis of Epstein Barr Virus, as part of the world-wide effort to combat virally-initiated cancers. The PI for this program will be Takayuki Murata.

Seoul National University, Institute of Molecular Biology and Genetics, will work with Horizon to create isogenic cell lines to study the regulatory mechanisms of BubR1 spindle assembly checkpoint, in order to increase understanding of the basis of genetic instability of cancer. Associate Professor Hyunsook Lee will be leading the program for Seoul National University.

Dr Daniel SW Tan, PI at the NCC Singapore, Department of Medical Oncology, will use Horizon’s technology to study the effects on cell lines of cancer-causing EGFR mutations, which are implicated in a wide range of cancer types.

“We are delighted these three new institutes have joined our Centers of Excellence program,” said Dr Rob Howes, Principal Scientist, Horizon. “We are excited to continue expanding our rAAV genome editing network into Asia, and hope to add to this further through 2013.”

The new human isogenic cell lines generated by the CoE’s will be exclusively licensed to Horizon in return for future product royalties. Horizon will also have an exclusive option to license new intellectual property developed. This forms part of Horizon’s strategy to generate at least 2500 new X-MAN™ (gene X- Mutant and Normal) models of cancer, neurodegenerative, and cardiovascular disease. These models support drug discovery researchers in their efforts 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.

These centers become part of the larger Horizon Centers of Excellence network, which includes high profile Institutions such as Cambridge University, UCL, Yale University, the National Cancer Institute, Washington University in St Louis and the National Cancer Centre, Japan.

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Sarah Thomas
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