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Horizon Discovery, H3 Bio Launch Screening Program for Oncology Targets

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Horizon Discovery and H3 Biomedicine today launched SyntheTx, a technology partnership created to provide novel oncology targets and early-stage drug discovery programs to drug manufacturers.

H3 Biomedicine, a Cambridge, Mass.-based biopharmaceutical firm, is the first partner in the program. Additional partners will be sought in the first 12 to 18 months of the program.

SyntheTx combines Horizon's ability to generate human isogenic cell lines that replicate specific genetic defects present in defined cancer patient populations with the high-throughput RNAi and bioinformatics technology platforms of Horizon and H3 Biomedicine. SyntheTx will leverage Horizon's capabilities in reproducing tumor microenvironment conditions "to reveal the genetic dependencies of cancer cells in vitro" in order to uncover vulnerable points in the genomes of screened cancer cell lines and then confirm these weaknesses in wider cell panels, the partners said.

The firms plan to screen up to 50 cancer-driving genotypes that have been deemed "undruggable" in order to identify targets that can be optioned for further development. Targets not optioned by Horizon or H3 Biomedicine will be made available to drug manufacturers at the end of the program.

Using Horizon's precision genome editing technology called Genesis, SyntheTx will also validate targets and promote its partners' capabilities around early lead molecule generation.

SyntheTx will seek commercialization opportunities in three stages: early partnering of putative targets in conjunction with biological validation services, partnering on early targets, and partnering on small molecule lead discovery programs in the in vitro or in vivo proof-of-concept stage.

Alan Ashworth, a professor of molecular biology at the Institute of Cancer Research, will join Horizon's Scientific Advisory Board to provide oversight of SyntheTx.