NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Horizon Discovery Group today announced an agreement to buy the CombinatoRx Service business of biopharmaceutical firm Zalicus for £4.74 million ($8.0 million).
CombinatoRx provides combination high-throughput screening (cHTS) services. Upon completion of the deal it will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Horizon and be called Horizon CombinatoRx. The new company will be located in a 23,000-square-foot facility in Cambridge, Mass.
As part of the deal, Horizon is acquiring two fully integrated robotic screening platforms "optimized for combination screening," it said, along with customer contracts and the Chalice informatics platform. Also included in the assets being purchased is a "highly characterized" library of about 800 cell lines and an extensive compound and chemical probe library.
Leveraging its cHTS platform and Chalice analytics software, CombinatoRx enables the screening and analysis of thousands of complementary drug combinations. By combining the technologies with Horizon's Genesis gene editing platform and X-MAN isogenic cell line technology, Horizon CombinatoRx will offer services including novel phenotypic cell-based screens with compound siRNA, shRNA, and sgRNA libraries, Horizon said.
It added that the new company will have access to Horizon's business development infrastructure and a customer base of more than 800, allowing for the expansion of CombinatoRx's historical customer base.
Horizon said that while combination therapies "are emerging as the standard of care" in areas such as cancer, inflammation, diabetes, and infectious disease, current methods of developing such therapies at the clinical stage "misses the opportunity to identify novel multi-target mechanisms that better address the systems biology of disease and the emergence of resistance." Horizon CombinatoRx will take aim at this by providing a scalable, high-throughput combination screening platform in conjunction with Horizon's gene editing and drug discovery and development knowledge, the Cambridge UK-based firm said.
Zalicus VP of Corporate Operations Jeb Ledell will become COO of Horizon CombinatoRx. Horizon's Lydia Meyer Turkson will be the new firm's VP of business development.
"The scalable and proven cHTS and Chalice platform combined with our world-leading translational genomics technologies significantly broadens the portfolio of discovery research services we can offer to our global customer base," Horizon CEO Darrin Disley said in a statement.