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Consortium Studying Genomic Risk Loci for Heart Disease Gets $7.8M

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Horizon Discovery said today it has received a share of a European Union Seventh Framework Programme grant totaling €5.75 million ($7.8 million) for work it will do on a project called "CV genes-at-target."

The grant was awarded to a consortium of research institutions and companies to study genomic risk loci for coronary artery disease and stroke in in vitro and in vivo settings and to determine whether they can serve as therapeutic targets.

Horizon did not specify how much of the grant it is receiving.

The Cambridge, UK-based firm is working with Leicester University to engineer the candidate genomic risk loci into normal human cell lines to study which SNP variations "have a predisposing impact toward cardiovascular disease." The human cell lines being engineered include pluripotent cells and differentiated endothelial and vascular smooth muscle cell types, Horizon said, adding its Genesis genome editing platform will be used to engineer the cell lines.

The project will expand Horizon's panel of isogenic X-Man human disease model cell lines into a new therapeutic area "in which genetics are thought to play a significant role alongside other environmental factors such as diet and exercise," it said.

The genome-edited cell lines will undergo molecular profiling by the consortium, including an investigation of locus-specific and global gene expression "to define biological pathways impacted by each risk variant, complemented by analysis of relevant proteins."

The data will be integrated with those from other researchers in the project, "examining pathways in relation to genotype at a tissue level."

Other project members include Deutsches Herzzentrum München (German Heart Center Munich); University of Leicester; Oxford University; UMC Utrecht; LMU Munich; University of Lübeck; Bioceros; Clinical Gene Networks; European Screening Port; 4SC Discovery; and Genedata.

Each of the participants is receiving a part of the grant.