Partners will use Horizon’s rAAV platform to generate mouse models and study cancer drug resistance.

Horizon Discovery and the Fox Chase Cancer Center are establishing a center of excellence in gene editing as part of a three-year collaboration focused both on the application of Horizon’s rAAV gene-targeting technology in mouse embryonic stem cells and the discovery of genes involved in human cancer resistance to EGFR-targeted therapies.

The collaboration will generate both new human isogenic disease models and mouse knockout models licensed exclusively to Horizon. The firm will also have an exclusive option to license new IP originating from the partnership. It says the partnership will aid its drive to develop at least 2,500 new X-Man™ models of cancer, neurodegenerative, and cardiovascular diseases.

The Center of Excellence will work to expand the applications of rAAV gene editing to in vivo mouse models for applications in functional genomics and translational medicine. The cancer-resistance research aims to identify genes involved in the mechanisms by which some tumors are resistant to drugs such as Erbitux and Vectibix, and potentially identify novel targets for treatment.

“These efforts will allow us to more realistically model how combining new signaling inhibitors affects certain drug-resistant cancers,” comments Jonathan Chernoff, Ph.D., CSO at Fox Chase. “In addition, if we are able to use rAAV technology to modify mouse ES cells, this could open the door to rapid, high-throughput gene editing in the mouse.”

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