Funding will be used to expand portfolio of isogenic cell lines to noncancer fields.

Horizon Discovery completed a second closing of a Series C financing round, which has raised a total of $18.6 million. The firm says it aims to use the funds to improve its technology platforms and expand into new disease areas outside of its traditional focus on cancer.

U.K.-based Horizon’s core rAAV-based gene-engineering platform, Genesis, is being exploited to develop its expanding X-Man™ (mutant and normal) portfolio of genetically defined and patient-relevant cell lines for modeling disease-causing mutations in cancer.

The panel currently includes over 350 X-Man lines that have been either developed in house or licensed in. Within the last few months alone the firm has acquired licenses to isogenic cell lines relevant to viral infections (from the University of Minnesota), DNA repair (from Public University Corporation Yokohama City University), and for studies on miRNA21 (from the University of Pittsburgh), which is implicated in a range of cancers.

In April Horizon established a three-year collaboration with the Fox Chase Cancer Center focused on the discovery of genes involved in resistance to EGFR-targeted therapies, through which the partners will establish a Center of Excellence in Mammalian Gene Editing. In March the firm received a $1.6 million grant from the EU’s Seventh Framework Program (FP7) to participate in the Coltheres (Colon Cancer and Therapeutics) Consortium, through which it will develop X-Man cell lines that incorporate predictive biomarkers of drug response identified through the Coltheres initiative. At the start of 2011, Horizon announced a two-year research collaboration with the University of Washington focused on generating a process for gene editing in inducible human pluripotent stem cells.

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