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Horizon Discovery Licenses Transposon-Based Gene-Editing Tech

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Horizon Discovery announced today that it has acquired the exclusive rights to a novel transposon-based gene-editing technology.

According to the company, the technology is based on helitrons, a type of eukaryotic transposon that can incorporate multiple copies of a DNA sequence into a genome either immediately or at a later time by reactivating the transposon machinery.

The intellectual property covering the technology is held by inventors from the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, the Genetic Information Research Institute, the Paul Ehrlich Institute, and Horizon. 

Horizon said that its exclusive license to the technology covers all applications including biomanufacturing such as through the delivery of the DNA sequence of a specific protein into bioproduction cell lines or the enhancement of such cell lines by introducing multiple copies of a target sequence; diagnostics by developing reference standards for assays designed to measure the copy number of a gene; and therapeutics as an alternative mechanism for therapeutic gene delivery.

Additional terms of the licensing deal were not disclosed.

"Through the completion of gaining exclusive rights from all parties, Horizon now has access to a powerful new gene editing platform that provides a unique approach to gene editing and DNA delivery, strengthening our capabilities in bioproduction and diagnostics, and for the first time directly as a cell or gene therapy," Horizon CEO Darrin Disley said in a statement.

Horizon has been exploring the therapeutics space in recent years, and in 2016 formed an immuno-oncology joint venture with Centauri Therapeutics. And earlier this year, the company acquired the full commercial rights to use CRISPR-edited cell lines in drug manufacturing from ERS Genomics.