Horizon Discovery Group plc In-licenses Oncology Programme from Servier and Enters Option Agreement


• License programme with milestone payments of up to £50 million plus royalties on product sales

• Horizon to in-license novel kinase inhibitor programme from Servier

• Horizon will exploit its translational genomics and combination sciences platform to define optimum approaches to treatment and identify cancer patient populations most likely to respond


Cambridge, UK, 7 October 2015: Horizon Discovery Group plc (LSE: HZD) ("Horizon" or "the Company”), the international life science company supplying research tools and services that power genomics research and the development of personalised medicines, announces today that its leveraged business unit has signed a programme in-licensing and option agreement with Servier, the independent French research-based pharmaceutical company . The agreement is potentially worth over £50 million to Horizon in preclinical and clinical milestones, payments linked to net sales, and tiered royalties on future product sales.

Horizon has in-licensed novel kinase inhibitors from Servier that exhibit great promise based on pre-clinical data for treatment of a range of cancer types but do not currently have a biomarker to define a sensitive patient population. Horizon will use its world-leading platform, comprising isogenic cell lines and in vivo models, CRISPR-Cas9 mediated gene editing technology and ultra-high-throughput combination screening, to identify the population of cancer patients most likely to respond to the in-licensed compounds, whether as single agents or in combinations with other drugs. Horizon also has the option to explore the use of the inhibitors in other therapeutic indications.

Under the terms of the agreement, Servier has a first option to license back the assets. Should Servier take up this option, Horizon would receive up to £50 million in milestone payments plus royalties on product sales. If Servier does not take up its option, Horizon will be free to seek another pharma partner and Horizon and Servier would then share in the success of the progression of the programme as it advances into the clinic and registration.

Horizon will evaluate the mechanism of action of the candidate compounds, and will verify the patient stratification hypothesis by both in vitro and in vivo preclinical experiments. Horizon will also define a path towards the development of biomarkers for both patient stratification and drug efficacy.

Dr. Darrin M. Disley, Chief Executive Officer of Horizon Discovery Group plc, said: “The in-license of assets with a strong pre-clinical pedigree but do not yet have a clear clinical development strategy, represents a great opportunity for companies like Horizon. Demonstrating our scientific leadership through our translational genomics, drug combination and biomarker discovery platforms; we seek to identify genetic markers that predict drug sensitivity enabling programmes like this one to be progressed rapidly into the clinic for defined patient populations. This innovative deal, as part of our strategy to drive accelerated growth, offers significant upside potential for our investors built upon the leverage of our intellectual property, technology platforms and know-how.”

Mr Jean Pierre Abastado, Director of Oncology Innovation, Servier, commented: “The long standing collaboration between Servier and Vernalis has led to the discovery of novel kinase inhibitors. Horizon’s technology portfolio and expertise makes them ideally positioned to progress these drug candidates into the clinic and to investigate their potential for therapeutic efficacy both alone and in combination therapies. Servier is committed to driving therapeutic progress for the benefit of patients, with partnerships such as this playing a key role.”




For further information from Horizon Discovery Group plc, please contact: 

Consilium Strategic Communications (Financial Media and Investor Relations)
Amber Fennell / Jessica Hodgson / Matthew Neal / Laura Thornton
Tel: +44 (0) 20 3709 5701
Email: horizon@consilium-comms.com

Zyme Communications (Trade and Regional Media)

Katie Odgaard
Tel: +44 (0)7787 502 947
Email: katie.odgaard@zymecommunications.com

Panmure Gordon & Co. (NOMAD)

Corporate Finance: Freddy Crossley / Duncan Monteith / Fabien Holler
Broking: Tom Salvesen
Tel: +44 20 7886 2500


Notes for Editors

About Horizon Discovery Group plc www.horizondiscovery.com/

Horizon is a revenue-generating life science group supplying research tools to organisations engaged in genomics research and the development of personalised medicines. Horizon has a diverse and international customer base of over 1,200 organisations across more than 50 countries, including major pharmaceutical, biotechnology and diagnostic companies as well as leading academic research centers. The Group supplies its products and services into multiple markets, estimated to total in excess of £29 billion by 2015. 

Horizon’s core capabilities are built around its proprietary translational genomics platform, a high-precision and flexible suite of gene editing tools able to alter almost any endogenous gene sequence of human or mammalian cell-lines. Horizon offers over 20,000 catalogue products, almost all of which are based on the application of gene editing to generate cell lines that accurately model the disease-causing mutations found in genetically based diseases. These ‘patients-in-a-test-tube’ are being used by customers to identify the effect of individual or compound genetic mutations on drug activity, patient responsiveness, and resistance, which may lead to the successful prediction of which patient sub-groups will respond to currently available and future drug treatments.

In addition, Horizon provides custom cell line and in vivo model generation services for research and bioproduction applications, quantitative molecular reference standards, in vivo disease models, and contract research and custom screening services.

Horizon is headquartered in Cambridge, UK, and is listed on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM market under the ticker “HZD”, for further information please visit: www.horizondiscovery.com.


About Servier

Servier is an independent French research-based pharmaceutical company. Its development is driven by the pursuit of innovation in the therapeutic areas of cardiovascular, metabolic, central nervous system, psychiatric, bone, muscle and joint diseases, as well as cancer.

• In 2014, the company recorded a turnover of 4 billion euros.

• 92% of Servier medicines are prescribed outside of France.

• 28% of turnover from Servier drugs was reinvested in Research and Development in 2014.

With a strong international presence in 146 countries, Servier employs more than 21,400 people worldwide.

Oncology is one of the key priorities of Servier in terms of research and development with currently 8 new molecular entities in clinical development in breast cancer, lung cancer, other solid tumours and various types of lymphomas and leukaemias. This portfolio of innovative cancer treatments is being developed with various partners worldwide, and covers different hallmarks of cancer including cytotoxics, pro-apoptotic, targeted, immune and cellular therapies. Hence, Servier aims at delivering a significant and positive impact on cancer patients’ lives. 

More information is available at: www.servier.com

Servier Communication Department
Tel: +33 1 5572 6037
Email: presse@servier.fr