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Dec 15, 2009

Horizon Negotiates Licenses to Gene Engineering Technology from University of Washington

  • Horizon Discovery obtained exclusive, worldwide licenses to human gene-targeting technologies developed by scientists at the University of Washington. The technologies involve the use of parvoviral vectors in human genome engineering.

    Horizon aims to combine the licensed capabilities with its own Genesis platform to generate a range of genetically stable and optimized, high-yielding human cell lines for producing biopharmaceuticals. The company says that the ability to engineer human adult stem cells or reprogram stem cells derived from differentiated somatic human cell lines will allow it to generate an expanded and diversified portfolio of its X-Man human isogenic cell lines for predicting the response to drugs targeting cancer-related genes.

    The technology’s inventor, David Russell, M.D., Ph.D., has been appointed a special member of Horizon’s scientific advisory board. Darrin M Disley, Ph.D., Horizon’s chairman, notes that the company’s relationship with the University of Washington has already been fundamental to the development of Horizon.

    “The ability to precisely and stably alter the genome of mammalian and especially human cell lines without introducing errors or exogenous vector sequences opens up several opportunities for our products and services in Rx and Dx development as well as bioproduction markets.”


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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

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