Horizon Discovery Group successfully completed licensing agreements with all joint patent holders to provide exclusive worldwide rights to a novel transposon based gene editing technology platform
The license broadens Horizon’s gene editing capabilities, with immediate applications in biomanufacturing, diagnostics and cell therapy.
The gene editing technology is based on a type of transposon (Helitrons), which uses a ‘copy and paste’ mechanism to allow multiple copies of a DNA sequence to be incorporated into a genome, either immediately, or by reactivating the transposon machinery to increase the copy number at a later time.
This is in contrast to current transposon technologies (eg Sleeping Beauty or PiggyBac), which transfer DNA by a ‘cut and paste’ mechanism, where a sequence is removed from one part of a genome and randomly inserted elsewhere.
This technology also enables the highly efficient delivery of DNA into a genome. A common method for DNA delivery is through the use of retroviruses or lentiviruses, which can be challenging to manufacture and are covered by associated IPt requiring expensive licenses.
The Helitron IP provides a far simpler and less expensive approach to manufacturing, promising Horizon the opportunity to realise significant operational efficiencies in cell engineering, and cell and gene therapy.
The Helitron patent is held by four inventors: Zoltan Ivics (Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) and the Paul Ehrlich Institute), Ivana Grabundzija (MDC), Vladimir Kapitonov (Genetic Information Research Institute), and Tilmann Buerckstuemmer (Global Head of Innovation at Horizon Discovery).
Horizon has now been granted an exclusive license from all co-owners for use of the technology, providing freedom to operate for all applications, including tool development, service provision, and therapeutic development.
Dr Darrin M Disley, CEO of Horizon Discovery Group, said: “At Horizon we understand that the improvement of existing gene editing technologies, as well as development of completely novel ones, is critical to our lasting success leading the way in the gene editing space. Through the completion of gaining exclusive rights from all parties, Horizon now has access to a powerful new gene editing platform that provides a unique approach to gene editing and DNA delivery, strengthening our capabilities in bioproduction and diagnostics, and for the first time directly as a cell or gene therapy.”
Applications of this technology for Horizon include: