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Horizon Discovery, Mammoth Biosciences Sign Second CRISPR Tools Development Agreement

NEW YORK – Horizon Discovery announced on Monday that it has signed a collaboration and license agreement with Mammoth Biosciences to develop a new generation of genetically engineered CHO cells for the production of biotherapeutics such as therapeutic antibodies.

Horizon's bioproduction business unit currently offers a CHO cell line and customized services to the biopharmaceutical industry to facilitate the development and identification of best performing gene-edited cell lines. Under the terms of the agreement with Mammoth, Horizon will have access to Mammoth's CRISPR platform, and the companies will collaborate to optimize certain CRISPR tools to rapidly develop proprietary CHO cell lines in which selected genes will be knocked out to improve performance parameters such as productivity or purification.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

CHO cells are epithelial cells derived from the ovary of the Chinese hamster and are often used in biological and medical research and commercially in the production of therapeutic proteins. They're also the most commonly used mammalian hosts for industrial production of recombinant protein therapeutics.

This is the second agreement the companies have signed in the past month. On Dec. 13, 2019, Horizon and Mammoth announced they would collaborate to develop new CRISPR tools with the aim of generating new engineered cell lines for the biopharmaceutical industry. Under the terms of that agreement, Horizon and Mammoth said they planned to identify and optimize novel proteins owned by Mammoth and then license those proteins to Horizon. They then plan to develop engineered cell lines.

"Horizon is committed to leading the field in delivering the next generation of CHO cell lines to an industry where greater flexibility, increased speed to market and cost reduction are key drivers," Horizon CEO Terry Pizzie said in a statement. "We believe that our expertise in cell line engineering can be leveraged to address many of these issues and with the addition of Mammoth's technology, the opportunity now exists for Horizon to become a disruptive provider of best in class engineered CHO cells to enable the production of next-generation biotherapeutics."