ATUM (formerly DNA2.0) will license Horizon Discovery’s Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) SOURCE platform under a cross-license agreement in which Horizon will gain rights to incorporate into the biomanufacturing platform a vector suite developed by ATUM, the companies said today.

The agreement—whose value was not disclosed—is designed to help biomanufacturers speed development of highly productive, stable cell lines for drug development by enabling expression of complex biologics, ATUM and Horizon Discovery said.

ATUM’s licensing of CHO Source includes the glutamine synthetase (GS) knockout CHO K1 cell line, a fully traceable and GMP-banked line that, according to Horizon, is designed for customers who want to rapidly implement an improved solution without sacrificing time or quality.

In addition, ATUM will also use its proprietary Leap-In® Transposase Technology to offer cell line development services in combination with CHO SOURCE. Biopharmas can also evaluate the Leap-In transposase together with CHO SOURCE for internal development, followed by licensing the two technologies separately. ATUM is also offering Horizon customers a no-fee evaluation license for the transposase system.

ATUM’s suite of novel vectors, developed with Horizon, consists of a mammalian expression technology combined with elements that the company says improve aspects of the protein production pathway. The vectors have been designed for ease of use, with dual- or single-promoter options available as part of the CHO SOURCE platform, and are intended to drive the generation of high-yield stable cell lines.

CHO SOURCE increases stringency of cell selection compared with historical platforms based around chemical inhibition, such as methionine sulfoximine (MSX) and methotrexate (MTX), which according to Horizon results in faster identification of clones expressing a biotherapeutic product at industry-relevant levels. CHO SOURCE is based on a one-time fee for access for full commercial use.

Horizon says its GS knockout cell line has been developed specifically to address the growing needs of biotech companies and CMOs in biological manufacturing.

“Horizon’s GS line and ATUM’s vectors and transposase technology are a very powerful combination for production of stable cell lines in industry-leading timelines,” ATUM co-founder and CEO Jeremy Minshull, Ph.D., said in a statement. “This technology is suited not just for regular antibodies, but for the next wave of biologics, including two-, three-, and four-chain bispecifics, and requires only small numbers of clones to be screened to reach commercial titers. This allows us to look in more depth at other properties of the molecule, which is essential with these more complex biologics.”

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