Gene-editing specialist Horizon Discovery has entered into a collaboration with AstraZeneca as part of the pharma giant’s efforts to set up a genomics discovery platform.
AstraZeneca will also join the Genomics Discovery Initiative, which is a collaborative functional genomics screening community, the companies said. AstraZeneca, which said it has been evaluating Horizon’s Edit-R human whole genome crRNA library for gene knockout since late last year, will adopt Horizon’s platform of arrayed synthetic crRNA libraries for CRISPR-mediated transcriptional activation.
“The scientific support and degree of collaboration with the scientists at Horizon has been really impactful in ensuring we are able to harness the full potential of the platform,” Steve Rees, the head of discovery biology at AstraZeneca’s IMED Biotech Unit, said in a statement. “We have been impressed with the performance of the Edit-R synthetic crRNA, and look forward to feeding our drug discovery pipeline with data generated from the CRISPRa crRNA libraries.”
In May, Horizon rejected a proposed $367 million takeover offer from U.K.-based Abcam, calling the merger “highly opportunistic” and questioning the rationale behind the offer. That move came just as Terry Pizzie, who had been Horizon’s head of commercial operations, was named as chief executive.