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29 June, 2017 - 12:50 By Kate Sweeney

Abcam extends cell model contract with Horizon

horizon discovery, gene-editing, cambridge

Cambridge life science neighbours Abcam and Horizon Discovery are to continue working together on a crucial antibody research project.

Abcam has extended a deal granting it exclusive rights to Horizon cell building technology. Both businesses are growing fast in the Cambridge UK life science clutter.

The supply and licence agreement was originally struck in September 2015 and will now run through to June 2018.

The collaboration was created to provide Abcam with exclusive access to Horizon’s extensive library of human diploid and haploid cell line models for the functional validation of Abcam’s existing monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies, and for the development of additional haploid cell lines to validate new antibodies introduced by Abcam.

The validation of antibodies is an important effort for Abcam as there is a significant issue with the reproducibility of scientific studies. 

In 2012, Dr. C. Glenn Begley, former global head of Hematology and Oncology Research at Amgen, published a paper in Nature describing an effort to reproduce the results of 53 cancer-related publications in top journals and found that only six of these papers could be replicated, with a lack of reagent validation being a significant contributor to the problem. 

Abcam has stated that it is important for reagent suppliers to do more to tackle these issues, and has, therefore, engaged in an active programme to validate a large portion of its catalogue, made possible through Horizon’s knockout (KO) cell models. 

Knockout validation involves using cells that do not make the target protein of interest, thereby providing a true negative control, an approach Abcam found was preferred by many researchers. 

Since starting its KO validation initiative in 2015, Abcam has now validated several hundred antibodies using Horizon’s cell lines. This ongoing programme is being conducted at an unprecedented scale and is central to Abcam’s commitment to improving the standards of antibody validation. 

Recently, the importance of the programme was recognised when Abcam won the ‘Most exciting antibody validation initiative’ at the CiteAb 2017 Antibody Awards.

Under the terms of the agreement, Horizon receives exclusivity payments totalling £660,000 (c$1,000,000) across the initial three-year term, with preferred pricing charged for any additional haploid cell lines developed. In addition, Horizon receives a royalty on the sale of any Abcam antibodies marketed using validation data derived from Horizon cell lines for a period of 10 years from the first date of sale.

Horizon CEO Dr Darrin Disley (pictured above), said: “We are pleased that Abcam has chosen to extend its exclusivity period for the use of Horizon’s cell models for antibody validation for another year.

“Researchers increasingly expect critical reagents such as antibodies to provide a reliable foundation for their work, and we are delighted that Horizon’s deep gene editing experience, including CRISPR and rAAV, breadth of intellectual property, and proprietary methods for the generation of high-throughput, low-cost haploid cell models, is enabling Abcam to rapidly validate its catalogue at scale.”

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