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15 Oct 2013

Horizon Discovery Receives Share of €5.75 Million EU FP7 Grant

Horizon Discovery (Horizon), a leading provider of research tools to support the development of personalised medicines, has received a share of an EU FP7 Grant totaling €5.75 million ($7.8 million), awarded to a consortium of research institutions and companies for the ‘CV genes-at-target’ project. The project aims to investigate genomic risk loci for coronary artery disease (CAD) and stroke in both in vitro and in vivo settings, and to determine whether any are suitable targets for therapeutics.


Horizon will work with Leicester University to engineer the candidate genomic risk loci into normal human cell lines (induced pluripotent cells and differentiated endothelial and vascular smooth muscle cell types) to study which SNP-variations have a predisposing impact towards cardiovascular disease. Horizon will use its GENESIS genome editing platform to engineer the cell lines, which now includes an expanding array of guided-nuclease techniques (ZFNs and CRISPR) alongside its proprietary precision rAAV-mediated homologous recombination technology. This project will expand Horizon’s panel of isogenic X-MAN human disease model cell lines into a new therapeutic area, in which genetics are thought to play a significant role alongside other environmental factors such as diet and exercise.


The consortium will then do molecular profiling of the genome-edited cell lines. This will include analysis of locus-specific and global gene expression (using microarrays) to define biological pathways impacted by each risk variant, complemented by analysis of relevant proteins. These data will be integrated with those from other investigators involved in the project, examining pathways in relation to genotype at a tissue level.


“By developing a better understanding of which inherited genetic variations represent true risk loci it is hoped that a more focussed and rigorous approach to disease prevention can be taken. The investigation of genomic risk loci may also inform the design of future targeted therapies that aim to get at the root of genetic predispositions for these conditions,” commented Chris Torrance, Founder and CSO, Horizon Discovery.


Other groups involved in the project and each receiving a share of the grant include: Deutsches Herzzentrum München, University of Leicester, Oxford University, UMC Utrecht, LMU Munich, University of Lübeck, Bioceros, Clinical Gene Networks, European Screening Port, 4SC Discovery, and Genedata.


Leicester University is a member of Horizon’s network of Centers of Excellence (CoE) for genome editing.

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