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EU Provides Horizon Discovery $1.7M to Develop Cancer Models

By a GenomeWeb Staff Reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Horizon Discovery today announced it has received a €1.2 million ($1.7 million) grant from the EU's Seventh Framework Programme and joined the Colon Cancer and Therapeutics, or COLTHERES, Consortium.

The UK research tools firm will use the funding to develop new X-Man cell lines that incorporate new predictive biomarkers for drug responses determined by the consortia's profiling of large clinical trial patient cohorts, it said. The novel cancer models will be used to confirm patient drug resistance and to analyze mechanisms of drug resistance. They will also be used to determine rational drug combinations that can provide longer lasting and more effective cancer treatments, Horizon Discovery added.

Up to 100 new X-Man genetically defined human cell lines are expected to result from the program. Horizon Discovery will own the new cell lines, which will be part of the company's goal of generating at least 2,500 new X-Man models in five years. The models will help drug discovery researchers understand how complex genetic diseases are manifested in patients and aid in the development of new drugs with more cost-efficient methods.

Horizon Discovery is also joining COLTHERES, a consortium of EU clinical centers and translational researchers who have been funded with €6.5 million by the Seventh Framework Programme to define and carry out biomarker-driven clinical trials with the goal of improving cancer therapy outcomes. The four-year program will use "comprehensively molecularly annotated" colon cancers to define specific biomarkers of response or resistance to signaling pathway agents.

Alberto Bardelli, co-founder of Horizon Discovery, and lead investigator for COLTHERES, also received a €2.1 million grant from the Seventh Framework Programme, the company announced. His research team at the University of Torino School of Medicine in Turin, Italy will join the consortium and use the funds to profile and screen patient tumors for biomarkers of drug resistance in order to determine drug combination to overcome resistance.

All intellectual property resulting from the program, including diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers of drug responses, novel drug targets, and rational drug combinations, are to be shared by the consortium members.

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