Horizon Discovery wins major Medical Futures Innovation Awards for its pioneering GENESIS...


Horizon Discovery (Horizon) today announced that it had beaten off intense nationwide competition from over 500 entrants to win the prestigious Best Business Proposition Medical Futures Innovation Award (MFIA).

The company was short-listed from the 26 award winners (one of three) for the Best Business Proposition of the Year award.  Also Horizon was winner of the MFIA’s Best Drug Discovery Technology Award in the Cancer Innovation Awards.

The judging process is carried out by an esteemed international panel of leading clinical and commercial experts, including; Sir Bruce Keogh, Medical Director for the NHS; Brain expert, Professor Mike Richards, National Cancer Director and; Dr David Gillen, Medical Director of Pfizer UK. The judges were impressed by Horizon’s gene-engineering platform known as GENESISTM.

GENESIS enables normal human cells to be converted into cancer cells by the introduction of genetic mutations that either: cause the onset of cancer in some patients or can result in up to 90% of cancers becoming resistant to currently available drugs. The availability of these cell models (which accurately reflect how cancer manifests itself in real patients) enables researchers to develop a range of tests and new medicines that will enable doctors to tailor treatment and follow-up care based on the needs of individual cancer patients.

Horizon scientific co-founders Dr Chris Torrance (CEO) and Professor Alberto Bardelli (Principle Scientific Advisor) have made it their mission to put patients at the centre of research into future cancer drugs. They believe that targeted research will improve patient survival rates and avoid many of the debilitating symptoms experienced during current chemotherapy treatment.

Horizon has used GENESIS to develop over 90 accurate models of human lung, breast, colorectal and other forms of cancer. This X-MANTM (Mutant And Normal) army is being deployed by global pharmaceutical companies to speed up and rationalize every step of the drug discovery process; from the identification of new “patient-relevant” targets and drugs, to the design of clinical trials that are centered around the groups of patients most likely to respond based on their genetic profile. Many of the key stakeholders in healthcare (patients, clinicians, funders, insurers and taxpayers) will benefit from this “personalised” approach. Horizon believes that this targeted research will save years on current drug development times, which often takes up to 15 years and also save hundreds of millions of dollars in wasted development costs.

Dr Torrance says: “Horizon has made remarkable progress since receiving Series-A funding in April 2008 from the University of Cambridge (via the Cambridge Enterprise Seed Funds team led by Dr Geraldine Rodgers; Angel Investor Jonathan Milner (CEO AbCam Group PLC) and; new ventures firm Execute Technologies. Winning this award very shortly after finalising several flagship commercial deals with leading companies and organizations including Genentech, Millennium Pharmaceuticals and Cancer Research UK is a validation of our technology and team. This we believe supports our vision of a time in the future when the right drug is administered to the right patient at the right time”

Horizon participated in the Medical Futures Innovation Awards star-studded gala awards ceremony in London on the evening of December 2nd, in the Grounds of the Honourable Artillery Company in Central London.

Horizon Discovery:

Horizon Discovery is a translational genomics company founded in June 2007 and is headquartered at the Babraham Research Campus, Cambridge, UK and with additional research laboratories in Torino, Italy. Horizon’s goal is to convert new information on the genetic causes of cancer into laboratory models that will facilitate the discovery and development of drugs that target these “patient-specific” defects.

Horizon has rapidly moved into the personalized medicine market with its range of X-MANTM disease-models; now totaling 90+ cell-lines, custom gene-engineering and drug-profiling services. The company is currently working with leading Cancer Pharma companies, including; Genentech, Millenium, Novartis, OSIP, Agios Pharma, the EUFP7 Migrating Stem-Cell Consortium and the Cancer Research UK funded flag-ship VIMCAD cancer drug discovery consortium (service provider and 1/6th shareholder).

The impact of Horizon technology in the personalized medicine arena can be marked at the patient, clinician, pharmaceutical R&D and health-insurance level; with expandable applications into other therapeutic areas and ‘companion’ diagnostic, prognostic and theranostic fields.

This rapid success and impact of Horizons proprietary technology has led to Horizon being nominated for a number of regional and national business awards in 2008.

Contact: Dr Darrin M Disley (Commercial Director)

+44 (0)1223 303049 or +44 (0)7786 133893


Medical Futures:

The Medical Futures Innovation Awards are a unique UK based Awards process that helps healthcare professionals and academics turn their ideas into tangible solutions that can improve patient care.

The Awards, run by a team of doctors, businessmen and media and communication experts, are part of a wider offering that includes educational and networking events between industry and the medical profession and in 2008, over 1000 ideas have been submitted via the website www.medicalfutures.co.uk.

By entering the Medical Futures Awards process, front line clinicians and academics have the chance to pitch their ideas in a Dragon’s Den style to a world-class panel of experts including the likes of Sir Bruce Keogh, Medical Director for the NHS; Baroness Susan Greenfield, Director of the Royal Institution; and Tom Ilube, Co-Founder of Egg Internet Bank. The Judges select winners based on three principle criteria: - novelty; impact on patient care and its viability, whether that is clinical, technical or commercial.

As well as the critical recognition and endorsement of a Medical Futures Innovation Award, winners receive a bespoke package of support to turn ideas into viable propositions that have credibility with investors. This may include assistance in articulating their idea; securing funding; and introductions to professional and commercial contacts vital in taking their idea to the next level.

The 2008 Awards ceremony takes place on 2nd December and consists of an exhibition held during the day and an evening awards ceremony. During the day winners can showcase their idea, network, and participate in press interviews. The overall winners in each category are presented with their award during the evening ceremony which includes a guest list of over 800 including celebrities, business leaders and key medical and scientific opinion leaders.

For further information, please visit: http://www.medicalfutures.co.uk


Cambridge Enterprise exists to help University of Cambridge inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs make their ideas and concepts more commercially successful for the benefit of society, the UK economy, the inventors and the University.

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