The X-MAN cometh: Horizon Discovery make final stages of Medical Futures Innovation Awards


Cambridge Enterprise portfolio company Horizon Discovery shortlisted for Medical Futures Innovation Awards.

Horizon Discovery (Horizon) announce that after two rounds of judging it has made it to the final stages of the prestigious Medical Futures Innovation Awards (MFIA).

The company has made the short-list for an innovation in Cancer award and will present to an eminent judges panel on September 5th in London in an attempt to win recognition. If successful, Horizon will participate in the November 2008 awards ceremony in London which will attract eminent clinicians, researchers, politicians and celebrities from the UK and around the world.

Horizon have pioneered the use of a proprietary gene-engineering technology that allows any endogenous gene in a human cell to be modified into a disease causing version of that gene; causing either a gain or loss in gene function. Using this novel approach, Horizon is able to create cellular models of human cancer that accurately reflect the way the disease genetically-manifests itself in any given patient-type.

The future benefits to patient-care (the primary interest of the MFIA judging panel) are that these models can be used to; identify novel cancer drugs that are optimally ‘targeted’ to specific patient-populations; select genetically-relevant patients for shorter, more focused and cheaper clinical trials and; to identify biomarkers related to disease-causing mutations or polymorphisms that predict disease-onset, prognosis and drug-responsiveness.

The impact of Horizon technology in the emerging field of personalised medicine could be marked at the patient, clinician, pharmaceutical R&D and health-insurance level.

Horizon has rapidly moved into the market with its range of X-MANTM disease-models (75+), gene-engineering, drug-profiling services. The company is working with; leading Cancer Pharma companies including Genentech, Millennium and AstraZeneca; 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).

“Dr Chris Torrance, CEO of Horizon says “Personalised medicine is a fast-evolving science that has the potential to provide more effective cancer diagnosis, therapy and treatment regimes based on each patients unique genetic make-up. This is seen most acutely in the Pharma-industry where predictive research tools that can; rationalise, accelerate, and reduce the cost of developing smaller, more focused, therapeutic regimens have previously been unavailable. Our genetically-defined X-MANTM cell-lines provide the first accurate portrayal of specific and diagnosable cancer patient populations in the laboratory setting; and thus contribute substantially to this aim by finding patient-relevant targets and drugs more quickly, cheaply than in the past, as well as helping to streamline the clinical trial design and drug approval process”.

Horizon Discovery is a Cambridge Enterprise portfolio company.


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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