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Horizon Discovery Inks Additional Licensing Pacts with U of Washington

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Horizon Discovery and the University of Washington said today that they have entered into a pair of additional licensing agreements in the area of human gene targeting.

The new agreements give Cambridge, UK-based Horizon the exclusive right to commercialize inventions made by UW researcher David Russell, relating to the use of parvoviral vectors in human genome engineering.

In exchange, UW will be granted an undisclosed number of shares in Horizon and will receive ongoing product royalties from licensed products and services.

Horizon said that it will use the inventions and related know-how to develop mammalian cell lines that have been genetically optimized for bioproduction of potential therapeutics; and to engineer pluripotent human stem cells to generate an expanded array of human isogenic cell lines for predicting drug response in individual patients' tumor cells.

In conjunction with the agreement, Russell, a professor of medicine and adjunct professor of biochemistry at the UW School of Medicine, has been appointed to Horizon's scientific advisory board.

Horizon's core technology, an adeno-associated, viral-based, gene-engineering platform called Genesis, was also exclusively licensed from UW.

"The new agreements … will align the technical and commercial interests of Horizon and UW," Darren Disley, Horizon's chairman, said in a statement. "The ability to precisely and stably alter the genome of mammalian cell lines without introducing errors or exogenous vector sequences opens up several opportunities for our products and services in Rx and Dx development as well as bioproduction markets."