Horizon Discovery Enters into License Agreement With U.S. Immuno-Oncology Company

  • Horizon out-licenses proprietary cell line and Helitron transposon gene editing technologies demonstrating Horizon's ability to generate revenues from internally derived IP
  • Horizon retains commercial rights over improvements to its technology platforms to develop new cell line technologies and gene delivery IP that can be licensed to customers for applications in biomanufacturing, diagnostic reference standards and cell therapy  

Cambridge, UK, 12 February 2018:
Horizon Discovery (LSE: HZD) ("Horizon" or "the Group"), a global leader in gene editing and gene modulation technologies, today announces that it has entered into a non-exclusive out-licensing agreement with a US-based immuno-oncology therapeutics developer (the "Partner") for Horizon's proprietary technologies to support the development and manufacture of a novel biomanufacturing cell line for commercial use.

Under the terms of the agreement, Horizon has licensed to the Partner a novel cell line engineering technology as well as non-exclusive rights to Horizon's proprietary Helitron transposon gene editing technology for an undisclosed financial consideration.

The cell line engineering technology will be used to modify a current Horizon biomanufacturing cell line to generate an intermediate, which can easily be further modified through the application of Horizon's proprietary Helitron transposon gene editing technology to introduce specific changes such as the integration of antibody sequences.  The intermediate cell line will enable rapid development of a wide range of cell lines designed to produce specific antibodies, enabling more cost effective and efficient antibody manufacture in the future for all the Partner's development programmes.

Horizon retains commercial rights to the improved cell line and Helitron transposon technology and will seek additional third-party license agreements for these technologies and others under development to enable cutting edge science and to drive novel workflows that are at the core of our partners' businesses.

Dr. Darrin M Disley, Chief Executive Officer, Horizon Discovery, commented: "Innovation and leverage of our capabilities, of which both intermediate cell line engineering and transposon technologies are key examples, are important parts of our strategy as we continue to develop novel ways to address the key challenges facing our customers. This agreement demonstrates the impact of this approach and the value of licenses to our novel technologies, and we anticipate this becoming a significant additional revenue stream for the Group going forward."


For further information from Horizon Discovery Group plc, please contact:

Horizon Discovery Group plc
Darrin Disley, Chief Executive Officer
Richard Vellacott, Chief Financial Officer
Chris Claxton, VP Investor Relations
Tel: +44 (0) 1223 655 580

Consilium Strategic Communications (Financial Media and Investor Relations)
Mary-Jane Elliott / Matthew Neal / Melissa Gardiner
Tel: +44 (0) 20 3709 5701
Email: horizon@consilium-comms.com

Zyme Communications (Trade and Regional Media)
Katie Odgaard
Tel: +44 (0)7787 502 947
Email: katie.odgaard@zymecommunications.com

Notes for Editors

About Horizon's intermediate cell line engineering technology:
Horizon's novel intermediate cell line engineering technology allows for the efficient insertion of genetic sequences into a specific site in the genome of a cell so that multiple cell lines suitable for the manufacturing of a wide range of materials can be accelerated through the use of an intermediate. In this way, this technology enables faster progress from DNA to protein and greater overall process predictability, improving the commercial potential of the biomanufacturing cell line. The technology has potential applications in biomanufacturing, diagnostic reference standards and cell therapy.

About Horizon's Helitron transposon gene editing technology:
Horizon's transposon gene editing technology is based on Helitron, a type of transposon that acts using a 'copy and paste' mechanism that allows multiple copies of a DNA sequence to be incorporated into a genome, whereas alternative transposon technologies transfer DNA by a 'cut and paste' mechanism.  The technology also enables the highly efficient delivery of DNA into a genome, avoiding the necessity to use retroviruses or lentiviruses, which can be challenging to manufacture and are covered by associated IP that require expensive licenses. The Helitron IP provides a far simpler and less expensive approach to manufacturing, promising significant operational efficiencies in cell engineering, and cell and gene therapy. 

About Horizon's Biomanufacturing platform:
Biological therapeutics made up seven of the top ten best selling drugs of 2016, and they feature extensively in developmental pipelines.  Access to bioproduction cell lines for their manufacture can be cost prohibitive however, and is often restricted in ways that prevent their further optimization by customers. This stifles innovation and means that drugs are not always getting to market due to the inability to generate bioproduction cell lines that meet the needs of commercial release.

Horizon is using its expertise in genome engineering to improve biological therapeutics manufacturing. As well as developing a tool box of cell lines for the manufacture of a range of current and next generation biological therapeutics, Horizon wants to encourage innovation in other organisations by allowing access to its state of the art bioproduction cell line platform (CHO SOURCE) under flexible licensing terms that include allowing the further modification of cells.


  • Biomanufacturing: A type of manufacturing that utilizes biological systems to produce commercially important biomaterials and biomolecules for use in medicines
  • Biotherapeutic: A therapeutic material produced using biological means, for example an antibody
  • Gene editing: a process in which DNA is inserted, replaced, or removed from a genome via homologous recombination or non-homologous end joining
  • Transposons: pieces of DNA that can move from one site to another within one genome and function both as a driver of evolution by contributing to the formation of new genes, and serve to support certain regulatory functions in cells

About Horizon Discovery Group plc www.horizondiscovery.com

Horizon Discovery Group plc (LSE: HZD) ("Horizon") is a world leader in gene editing and gene modulation technologies. Horizon designs and engineer's cells using its translational genomics platform, a highly precise and flexible suite of DNA editing tools (rAAV, ZFN, CRISPR and Transposon) and, following the acquisition of Dharmacon, Inc., its functional genomics platform comprising gene knockdown (RNAi) and gene expression (cDNA, ORF) tools, for research and clinical applications that advance human health. Horizon's platforms and capabilities enable researchers to alter almost any gene or modulate its function in human or mammalian cell-lines.

Horizon offers an extensive range of catalogue products and related research services to support a greater understanding of the function of genes across all species and the genetic drivers of human disease and the development of personalised molecular, cell and gene therapies. These have been adopted by over 10,000 academic, drug discovery, drug manufacturing and clinical diagnostics customers around the globe, as well as in the Company's own R&D pipeline.

Horizon is headquartered in Cambridge, UK, and is listed on the London Stock Exchange's AIM market under the ticker "HZD"

Back to news