The two-year agreement – financial terms of which were not disclosed – will see Californian contract research organisation (CRO) Crown use UK-based Horizon’s X-MAN isogenic cell lines to develop animal models for discovery and pharmacology testing applications.
Horizon CEO Darrin Disley told Outsourcing-pharma.com that while the xenograft concept – human tissue transplanted into an animal - is not new, the precisely defined genetics of Horizon’s cell lines is what sets the agreement apart.
“What makes Horizon's X-MAN isogenic lines special for this application is that they are genetically well defined and any effects seen can be attributed to the specific genetic mutation that differentiates the mutant cell from its parental.
Disley explained that the Horizon cell lines come in pairs, one of which can be used as a control for the preclinical evaluation of targeted therapeutics.
“Having this well-defined knowledge of the genetic background of the cells and the ability to test the parental alongside the mutant gives the models the ability to be more predictive of patient responses.”
Jean-Pierre Wery, Crown’s President, was similarly enthusiastic, explaining that models developed as a result of the collaboration open up a broad range of potential customers.
“The target market includes all customers who use animal models to advance their research. Primarily this would include biotech, pharma and CROs engaged in preclinical studies, but the application of isogenic animal models allows important phenotypic studies to be run earlier in discovery, and so there is a role for these models in academic institutions and other research facilities as well.”
He confirmed that Crown will own the models and added that they will not be sold as stand-alone products.
Wery also stressed that the deal makes sense for both firms from a business standpoint, explaining that: “Horizon does not have animal testing capabilities and so it made sense for us to partner with one of the world's leading sources of animal model services.
“Similarly, Crown saw the value of deepening their upstream offering through Horizon’s cell models, better enabling them to help their customers identify the best candidates to take into animal testing.”