OREANDA-NEWS. Horizon Discovery Group plc (LSE: HZD) ("Horizon or "the Company"), the world-leader in the application of gene editing technologies, today announces it has entered into a co-development and commercialisation agreement (the "Agreement") with Ventana Medical Systems, Inc. ("Ventana"), a member of the Roche Group.  The Agreement covers the development, manufacture and commercialisation of cell line derivative materials for use as IHC Reference Standards in cancer tissue diagnostics to support the development and validation of IHC assays.

Ventana is a global leader in tissue diagnostics including immunohistochemistry (IHC), providing products used in clinical histology and drug development research laboratories worldwide. To support the development and validation of IHC assays, Ventana has partnered with Horizon as a leading provider of highly characterised Reference Standards.

Under the terms of the Agreement, Ventana has the option to commission projects from Horizon, whereupon Horizon will develop the applicable cell lines and the associated derivative Reference Standard materials.  Horizon will retain primary responsibility for commercialising the Reference Standards and will serve as the primary distribution channel to end-customers in the growing tissue diagnostics market, thereby providing the Company with additional ongoing revenue streams. Ventana will hold the option to co-distribute any developed Reference Standards.

The co-development agreement has the potential to generate significant revenue to Horizon annually in development fees, subject to Ventana's opt-in rights.  Projects are currently underway. 

Dr. Darrin Disley, CEO, Horizon Discovery Group commented: "By securing this Agreement, Horizon's Reference Standards will now be used increasingly in the IHC market, continuing the Company's successful strategy of embedding OTS products into established and emerging workflows, delivering reliable revenue streams at high margin."

Paul Morrill, President, Products at Horizon Discovery Group commented: "We are excited to continue to strengthen our relationship with Ventana, developing Reference Standards in areas of significant need and exploring the opportunity for follow-on OEM agreements." 


The Need for Reference Standards

IHC Reference Standards provide histologists, and assay and platform developers, with reference standards that can be used as a renewable and consistent point of reference when optimizing and monitoring the performance of their assay.

Horizon Reference Standard development

For each project, Horizon will generate engineered cell lines with negative, intermediate and strong levels of protein expression using its proprietary gene editing platform. This raw material is then Formalin fixed and paraffin-embedded (FFPE), thereby transforming the cells into Reference Standards that are surrogates of real patient samples within IHC testing routines. The Reference Standards are extensively validated before sufficient material is provided to Ventana for assay development and validation.

About Horizon Discovery Group plc 

Horizon Discovery Group plc (LSE: HZD) ("Horizon"), is a world-leading gene editing company that designs and engineers genetically-modified cells and then applies them in research and clinical applications that advance human health.

Horizon's core capabilities are built around its proprietary translational genomics platform, a highly precise and flexible suite of gene editing tools (rAAV, ZFN and CRISPR) able to alter almost any gene sequence in human or mammalian cell-lines.

Horizon offers over 23,000 catalogue products and related research services, almost all of which are based on the generation and application of cell and in vivo models that accurately recapitulate the disease-causing genetic anomalies found in diseases like cancer. Horizon's commercial offering has been adopted by c1,400 unique research organisations in over 50 countries as well as in the Company's own R&D pipeline to support a greater understanding of the genetic drivers of disease and the development of molecular, cell and gene therapies that can be prescribed on a personalised basis.