Centre of Excellence in Cardiovascular Sciences
By joining Horizon's 'Centre of Excellence' program, Leicester will have access to the company's GENESIS genome editing technology which uses recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vectors containing single-stranded homologous DNA. The rAAV vectors stimulate a process called Homologous Recombination in human cells and allow genes to be accurately modified in the DNA of human cells.
University researchers will use the GENESIS technology to investigate the genetic factors behind cardiovascular disease. Horizon distributes its technology to academic bodies in return for an exclusive license to any new cell lines developed (although intellectual property rights remain with the University).
The company is working toward developing 2,500 cell lines as part of its X-MAN project, which stands for 'gene X - Mutant and Normal. These are precisely matched pairs of cell lines, where one harbours a mutation in an endogenous gene, just as it occurs in real patients, while the other is a genetically identical cell line carrying a normal version of that gene which can be used as a control in experiments.