Horizon aquires Hypoxium to unleash new oncology CRO

By Alexandria Pesic

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cancer

Horizon Discovery has acquired Hypoxium and launched Horizon Discovery Services, to provide “a new wave” in oncology drug development.

Horizon Discovery Services (HDS) will provide oncology translational research services using Horizon’s 250+ bespoke human isogenic cancer cell models and screening services. Services offerings will include drug profiling, 2D and 3D phenotypic assays, tumour microenvironment studies, and responsive-patient prediction.

Dr Chris Torrance, CEO of Horizon Discovery, told Outsourcing-Pharma, that Horizon’s targeted therapies will help “eliminate the still predominant, but irrational blanket prescription of cancer drugs; and consequently the unethical post-code lottery process that ensures.”

He believes the “one-size-fits-all” approach to drug therapies is a major challenge for the development of cancer therapies, as is the guess-work involved in predicting how drug molecules will behave in the complex microenvironment surrounding a tumour, which can be problematic during clinical trials.

But as a way of addressing the problem, the new contract research organisation is offering bespoke assays, marketed as X-MAN Pathways, which combine Horizon’s genetically-defined isogenic X-MAN human disease models with Hypoxium’s knowledge of mimicking tumour environments in an in vitro​ setting.

“X-MAN Pathways is built upon a collection of novel human cell-lines that are engineered to accurately model specific genetic features present in the patients we are trying to treat​,” said Torrance.

GENESIS; ‘breakthrough’ gene-editing technology

According to Torrance, the CRO, are using a “breakthrough”​ gene-editing technology called GENESIS to create disease models from normal human cells that exactly recapitulate the genetic events that lead to disease, such as cancer.

“Commercialision of this new and powerful technology is the reason behind Horizon’s rapid growth,” ​said Torrance, adding, “Moreover, for precisely altering the sequence of endogenous genes, there are no viable competing technologies.”

With the formal merger, Horizon is investing $500,000 (€357,982) in the development of more assays at the HDS facility on Cambridge Science Park, UK, towards new patient types in the cancer field,

The targeted cancer therapies will be offered to HDS’ clients in an outsource setting, providing “a highly cost-effective route for companies to rationally define which patients types are most likely to benefit from a given drug candidate prior to entering clinical trials, ultimately saving much of the time, cost, and pain associated with developing new therapeutic agents,” ​said Torrance.

New TD2 alliance formed

In other news, Horizon today announced it has formed a strategic alliance between TGen Drug Development (TD2), to allow customers to transfer bespoke in vitro assays, developed to a high-throughput environment, into an in vivo mouse model at TD2’s facilities in Arizona, USA.

Under the agreement, TD2 will lend experience in preclinical, clinical and regulatory affairs to help move client’s targets and drugs “more quickly from the laboratory bench to the patient bedside,” ​said Torrance.

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