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18 June, 2013 - 07:01 By Tony Quested

Horizon clinches landmark deal in China

Dr Brian Burke, Business Development Manager at Horizon

A Cambridge UK pioneer in technology that will accelerate development of personalised medicines has secured a multi-million pound landmark deal with a Chinese pharmaceuticals giant.

Horizon Discovery has broken new ground through a deal with Hisun Pharmaceuticals, a major player based in Zhejiang Province which has 3,000 employees and has had over 40 products certified by the US FDA and other global authorities. It sells into 30 territories worldwide.

Business Weekly understands that this is a maiden deal for Horizon in the bio-production space. Similar deals for such projects identified by Business Weekly suggest that Horizon could reel in around £3 million over time for Hisun’s use of its cell line.

Our research shows that typical deals in this range involve an–up-front payment and milestones as the cell-line progresses through pre-clinical to clinical use.

Hisun will be using Horizon’s glutamine synthetase (GS) double knock-out cell line for use in therapeutic antibody manufacturing.

Horizon has engineered the CHO cell line using its GENESIS™ gene editing technology, providing the most precisely engineered GS double knock-out available. The precision afforded by GENESIS results in an optimal final genotype, with complete control over the desired genomic alterations and with no unwanted off-target effects.

GS is a critical enzyme in the metabolism of the amino acid L‐glutamine which is often used as a selection marker in the production of recombinant proteins.

GS-negative CHO cell lines have proved a valuable resource for stringent selection of high producing lines and accelerating the development of cell lines within the bioproduction industry, offering significant advantages over traditional methods that use an expensive and toxic chemical inhibitor of GS.

Haibin Wang, senior vice-president, Hisun Pharmaceuticals, said: “Hisun’s competitive edge comes from our focus on pioneering technology and quality product. Horizon’s gene engineering technology is unique in the level of precision it can deliver, and therefore offers great advantages in quality and efficiency for industrial cell line engineering.

“Partnering with forward-looking leaders in their field, such as Horizon, is a key part of our strategy to provide innovative and quality products to our patients.”

Horizon CEO, Dr Darrin Disley, said the Hisun deal was the first of several Horizon projects aimed at GMP production of therapeutic proteins.“We are delighted to be working with Hisun on the final development stage for this cell line, the first of several Horizon projects aimed at GMP production of therapeutic proteins,” commented Dr Brian Burke, Business Development Manager at Horizon.“Cell line development has yet to match the gains made in media and feed technology development. Precision gene editing will be a key driver for cell line development, and by selective partnering with leaders like Hisun, Horizon intends to accelerate this process.”• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Dr Brian Burke, Business Development Manager at Horizon



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