Firm says engineered T-cell lines will facilitate studies of HIV as well as virus-associated and nonviral T-cell leukemias and lymphomas.

Horizon Discovery negotiated a worldwide exclusive license to a set of X-Man cell lines from the University of Minnesota. The acquired cell lines include several rAAV engineered T-cell lines, which Horizon says will expand its product line into the virology field and facilitate the study of HIV, HTLV-1, as well as virus-associated and nonviral T-cell leukemias and lymphomas.

The licensed T-cell lines comprise knockouts of the APOBEC gene family, which are central to the host’s innate defense mechanisms against T-cell viral infections, Horizon notes. The cells will be used as screening tools to identify molecules that use the host defense system to fight viral infections, and could in addition be used to identify APOBEC genes that represent major determinants of suppressing HIV replication. “By providing these new disease models we aim to help the development of new therapies for the treatment of AIDS and T-cell leukemia,” comments Rob Howes, Ph.D., principal scientist at Horizon.

Horizon has in addition extended its existing agreement with the University of Minnesota, announced in March 2010, to license a panel of X-Man cell lines relating to DNA repair. The agreements form part of the firm’s aim to generate at least 2,500 X-Man models of cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and cardiovascular diseases.

In June the firm secured a worldwide exclusive license for a panel of 50 new X-Man cell lines from Public University Corporation Yokohama City University. The panel, in the human B-cell precursor leukemia cell line NALM-6, includes a number of double knockout cell lines and is focused on DNA repair. Horizon says these X-Man cell lines will facilitate studies into the role of DNA repair in leukemia, and complement its existing X-Man DNA repair panel in the HCT-116 colon cell line.

Just last month the firm expanded its U.K.-based premises by moving into a purpose-fitted 20,000 sq. ft. facility on the IQ Cambridge Business Park. 

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