Horizon Discovery awarded Bioscience Company of the Future

Cambridge Enterprise portfolio company Horizon Discovery (Horizon), a leading provider of research tools to support the development of personalised medicines, was named as the Bioscience Company of the Future at the Cambridge Phenomenon 50th Anniversary Conference, held last week in Cambridge.

The awards, which were part of “the Future Starts Here” focus of the conference, were run to identify the next big Cambridge success stories in the IT and Bioscience sectors. Ahead of the conference, a judging panel, which included senior executives at companies including Google, Microsoft and Oracle, evaluated more than 100 companies and shortlisted four potential winners.

At the end of the conference, the 300 delegates at the event were able to cast their vote using real-time electronic voting, and Horizon was named the winner of Bioscience Company of the Future with 40% of the votes cast.

Personalised medicine is a fast-evolving science that has the potential to provide more effective cancer therapies based on having a detailed understanding of each patient’s unique genetic make-up and then tailoring the right targeted drug, or a combination of targeted drugs, for lasting responses.

Dr Darrin Disley

Horizon was awarded with the accolade for its technology, business implementation and pioneering role in providing drug developers, regulatory bodies, clinicians and health-care providers with a road-map for breaking the current cycle of ‘irrational’ cancer drug development. Horizon has developed and is commercialising a suite of in-vitro discovery and diagnostic tools called X-MAN™ (Mutant And Normal) cell-lines that accurately mimic the disease genetics of target patient populations and provide a crucial matched normal genetic background for reference. These tools are being rapidly adopted by drug developers to predict which patients will benefit from a specific drug in development before entering expensive clinical trials, and also to accelerate the development of more ‘targeted’ anti-cancer drugs.

At the same time, Dr Darrin Disley, Executive Chairman of Horizon Discovery, has been named as one of five finalists in the UK Entrepreneur of the Year Award, as part of the Growing Business Awards 2010. Launched in 1999, the Growing Business Awards have been recognising entrepreneurship for more than ten years and are attended by many of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs, including Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, Peter Jones, Bill Gates, Sir Philip Green, Duncan Bannatyne, John Caudwell, and many others. Dr Disley was selected along with four other leading entrepreneurs from hundreds of entries. The winner will be announced at the awards ceremony in London on 25th November 2010.

Commenting on the Cambridge Phenomenon award, Dr Darrin Disley, Executive Chairman of Horizon Discovery Ltd said “We are delighted to have won this award. Personalised medicine is a fast-evolving science that has the potential to provide more effective cancer therapies based on having a detailed understanding of each patient’s unique genetic make-up and then tailoring the right targeted drug, or ideally a combination of targeted drugs, for lasting responses. Our X-MAN cell lines provide a key missing link in personalised drug discovery, by providing a means of testing putative cancer drugs against, what are in effect, ‘patients-in-a-test-tube’.”

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