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Some Edits Here and There

Gene editing has become a key tool and is changing drug discovery, writes the Telegraph.

"It has transformed from something that is fantastically difficult to carry out into a day-to-day laboratory technology," Mike Mitchell from Panmure Gordon tells the paper. "It is now vital in both drug discovery and diagnostics and it's oncology and precision medicine that are driving this."

It's also opened up a niche for companies to provide gene-editing services to pharmaceutical companies. For instance, the Telegraph notes that Horizon Discovery obtained the IP rights to the gene-editing tool rAAV in 2007 and is now a £162 million (US$203 million) publicly listed company. It sells both custom and off-the-shelf genetically engineered cell lines to researchers, the Telegraph says, adding that the cell lines are often used to test drugs or gauge a subset of patients who might respond to a drug.

Horizon's Darrin Disley says this will help spur the development of drugs targeted to certain patient types. In addition, he adds that biotech has a role in food and fuel production, as well as in medicine. "Biotechnology underpins all of that because every one of them links back to genetics," he says. "In health, it's allowing us to increasingly predict your chances of getting a disease and how well you will respond to drugs."