UK and Ireland biomanufacturing centres ink cell line deal with Horizon

By Dan Stanton contact

- Last updated on GMT

Image: iStock/Matej Kastelic
Image: iStock/Matej Kastelic

Related tags: Cell line, Cell culture, Chinese hamster ovary cell

Horizon Discovery says flexibility and openness helped the UK’s Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) and Ireland’s NIBRT choose to provide its GS null CHO cell line to the biologics industry.

UK government-funded CPI opened a £38m ($50m) National Biologics Manufacturing Centre in Darlington last year​ to allow biopharma firms without their own facilities to trial processes and technologies.

The National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT), meanwhile, is a €60m ‘flight simulator for biopharma manufacturing’​ opened in 2011 to support Ireland’s biologics industry.

Both will be supported by the gene editing firm which has licensed its manufacturing ready GS null CHO K1 cell line to the centres in long-term partnerships which Horizon product manager Jamie Freeman said are designed to “allow maximum flexibility to support innovation.”

While Horizon already had an established working relationship with CPI, he told Biopharma-Reporter secured these agreements due to his firm’s flexible licensing models and openness which he added help drive innovation.

“We have implemented flexible licensing models with no restrictions on manipulations of the cells, and no claims to ownership of any improvements. I doubt any other providers would have been as open.”

CPI director of biologics Fergal O’Brien said the deal would help “create a powerhouse platform to develop bioprocessing solutions” ​at CPI, while NIBRT’s Killian O’Driscoll added the partnership woukd provide solutions of real impact for the advancement and improvement of biopharmaceutical manufacturing.”

We asked Freeman whether the training stage and early-phase development nature of CPI and NIBRT would guarantee Horizon with future work as projects grow in scale and move.

There is the potential that, in many cases​, if a company does a substantial amount of their R&D work - particularly the development - and generates cells they are comfortable with and that produce good levels of product, they will continue with this line for commercial production.”

Horizon published its interim results this week and saw year-on-year revenue growth of 19% to £10.2m. Furthermore, the firm counts 1,600 unique customers on its books, up 33% on this time last year.

CORRECTION - the original article described the deals as being cell line development contracts. The agreements are not cell line development contracts. The centres have licensed Horizon's GS Null CHO cell line, and are making it available to groups working with them.

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