Horizon’s gene-editing technology and isogenic cell lines will be leveraged.

Horizon Discovery and H3 Biomedicine have entered into a collaboration agreement to identify and validate a panel of novel cancer drug targets. H3 Biomedicine will carry out early target discovery through preclinical research, while Horizon will implement its three core drug discovery tools to run alongside and support H3 Biomedicine’s discovery biology and chemistry assets and capabilities. Eisai, which is partnered with H3 Biomedicine, will conduct any resulting clinical trials.

Under the terms of the agreement, H3 Biomedicine will have an exclusive option to acquire ownership of all program assets and intellectual property that relates to each of the target programs, with the exception of Horizon background IP. Horizon will retain commercial rights over any target program not optioned by H3 Biomedicine. Horizon will receive an initial up-front investment and additional payments as preclinical and clinical milestones are reached.

The goal is to rapidly come to definitive decisions on whether or not to progress novel targets into development. H3 Biomedicine integrates human cancer genomics with next-generation synthetic organic chemistry and tumor biology capabilities to generate a large library of small molecule drugs to treat cancer. Horizon’s discovery tools comprise rAAV-mediated genome editing (Genesis™) for precision functional genomics (endogenous gene knock-in and knock-outs), an expanding panel of 400+ X-MAN™ (mutant and normal) human isogenic cell lines that model specific target patient genetics and their matched normal genetic backgrounds, as well as extensive cell-based assay development and drug profiling experience.

“The successful development of new personalized medicines depends upon well validated and characterized targets and clearly defined patient populations,” comments Markus Warmuth, president and CEO, H3 Biomedicine. “High attrition rates in clinical trials have been impacting industry for a while. We believe that clinical success starts at target selection and validation.

“We have elected to work with Horizon because their tools will enable H3 Biomedicine to progress toward identifying the best possible targets for new drugs with the power to have meaningful therapeutic relevance,” Warmuth adds. “That may help us to increase clinical success rates and expedite the delivery of new therapies to the patients who need them.”

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