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Horizon Discovery Launches Companion Dx Subsidiary

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Horizon Discovery said today that it has launched a subsidiary called Horizon Dx to support the development, approval, and sale of companion diagnostics, initially in the area of cancer.

Horizon Dx, or HDx, will use Horizon Discovery's panel of more than 175 X-MAN human isogenic cell models that recapitulate drug sensitivity and resistance mechanisms in cancer patients. These cell models use a proprietary gene-engineering technology called GENESIS that enables rapid and precise alteration of any endogenous gene loci in human cells.

HDx's first commercial products will be a source of genetically defined "mutant versus normal" human DNA, and isogenic cell-admixtures situated within formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded samples, the company said.

These products are expected to enable companion diagnostic developers and their customers to validate and standardize assay performance and accurately recreate the mixture of mutant and normal cell populations typically found in patient tumor samples.

HdX's initial focus will be on "evaluating new diagnostic kits in partnership with key sector players and supplying isogenic human mutant-vs.-normal DNA controls to end users via a premier distribution partner," Horizon Chairman Darrin Disley said in a statement.

In addition, HDx seeks to expand work already underway with academic and industrial partners to identify "novel genomic, proteomic, metabolomic, and other in vitro and in vivo biomarkers and disease signatures from X-MAN models that can form the basis of developing new companion diagnostic kits in partnership," Disley added.

Horizon, based in Cambridge, UK, will initially fund HDx from its balance sheet but is seeking a multi-million dollar investment in the company by the end of the first half of this year, it said.