Monday, 22 April 2013
Cambridge, UK, 22 April 2013: Horizon Discovery (Horizon) and AstraZeneca have entered into an exclusive collaboration and license agreement to explore Horizon's first-in-class kinase target programme, HD-001, as a means of developing novel therapies for multiple cancer types.
The HD-001 program, currently in the early stages of drug discovery, has the potential to be developed into a treatment based on modulation of a novel kinase. This target has been shown to be mutated in a range of cancer types including colon and lung. Importantly, the target has also been shown to play a key role in K-Ras mutant tumours. K-Ras is mutated in up to 40% of all cancer types causing resistance to many of the available targeted therapeutics and as a result is associated with poor patient outcomes, which makes the development of molecular targeted therapies against the gene a significant unmet need.
Dr Chris Torrance, CSO and leader of the HD-001 program at Horizon, commented: "Targeting cancer cells harboring mutant K-Ras has been a perennial issue for the drug discovery community, with few canonical pathway or 'gene-addiction' targets showing a clear benefit on this important cancer gene. We are excited to partner with Astra Zeneca on the development of HD-001, as they have shown a firm commitment to the identification of novel K-Ras targets."
Dr Darrin M Disley, CEO at Horizon Discovery, said: "The program has benefitted greatly from the use of Horizon's drug discovery toolbox to first exquisitely validate the target and then provide a range of 'on-target' cellular assays to support rational drug discovery. As a result, the lead discovery effort has been rapid, resulting in a diverse portfolio of potent and selective inhibitors of the target. The novelty of the target combined with the unique suite of biological and chemical tools assembled will provide AstraZeneca with a strong base to launch its pre-clinical and clinical research efforts; supported in the early stages by our own research scientists."
Susan Galbraith, Head of the Oncology Innovative Medicines Unit at AstraZeneca, said: "Horizon's novel kinase target programme coupled with their target validation technology allows us to broaden our oncology research efforts beyond our own internal capabilities. AstraZeneca has a proven track record of collaborating on early stage discovery projects with
innovative organizations like Horizon, partnering their cutting-edge science with our strong oncology expertise to bring new medicines to cancer patients."
Under the terms of the agreement, Horizon will receive undisclosed upfront and preclinical milestone payments, and are eligible for clinical and approval milestones totaling up to $75M, as well as tiered royalties.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Dr. Darrin M. Disley, CEO
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About Horizon Discovery www.horizondiscovery.com/
Horizon Discovery Limited (Horizon) is a leading provider of research tools to support translational genomics research and the development of personalized medicines. Using GENESISTM, the Company's proprietary rAAV gene-editing technology, Horizon is able to alter any endogenous gene sequence of a human or mammalian cell-line quickly, reliably and without introducing unwanted and confounding genotypes and/or phenotypes.
Horizon has applied GENESIS to create over 500 X-MAN™ cell lines, the world's first source of genetically-defined and patient-relevant human cell lines, accurately modeling the disease-causing mutations found in cancer patients. These 'patients-in-a-test-tube' are being used by academic and industry leaders to identify the effect of individual or compound genetic mutations on drug activity, patient responsiveness, and resistance, leading to the successful prediction of which patient sub-groups will respond to currently-available and future drug treatments. This enables the design of shorter, more focused, and less expensive clinical trials, ultimately providing the tools to identify the 'right drugs' for the 'right patients' based upon the unique genetic mutations that define their disease.
In addition to the X-MAN cell lines, Horizon provides GENESIS and X-MAN™ derived products and services, with industrial application in: bio-pharmaceutical process optimization; clinical diagnostic development; drug discovery & development; and the provision of reference standards for genomic-based clinical research platforms.
GENESIS and X-MAN are registered trademarks of Horizon Discovery Limited.
AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of cardiovascular, metabolic, respiratory, inflammation, autoimmune, oncology, infection and neuroscience diseases. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. For more information please visit: www.astrazeneca.com