Horizon Discovery Releases CHO Genome Sequence for Bioproduction

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Horizon to make publicly available its complete annotated CHO cell-line sequence in hopes of driving bioproduction cell-line innovation.

On August 1, 2017, Horizon Discovery, a UK-based life-sciences company specializing in gene-editing technologies, released a complete, high-quality annotated sequence of its glutamine synthetase (GS) Knock-Out Chinese hamster ovary (CHO)-K1 bioproduction cell line. The sequence will be made available publicly as a resource to drive research and innovation in bioproduction at Horizon and across the industry. 

Horizon and its partners-the Sanger Institute (UK), a genomics research organization, and Eagle Genomics (UK), a life-sciences data management firm-have established a high-quality sequence map based on Horizon’s GS Knock-Out CHO-K1 cell line. Horizon is releasing the sequence into the public domain to enable quality-by-design in bioproduction cell-line development through the widespread ability to identify genes that, if modified, could improve the phenotype of interest. 

The project is based on Horizon’s GS Knock-Out CHO K1 cell line because it is manufacturing-ready and licenses come with the right to modify the cells, which is not usual among commercially available GS CHO KO cells. The use of Horizon’s cells with the public sequence is anticipated to provide an ideal base and dataset to enable screening that can provide immediately actionable results. The public sequence can also be applied to any other CHO cell line, but additional sequence validation may be required to confirm that the cell line being used does not differ in any meaningful way from the public sequence, according to Horizon. 

Bioproduction productivity has been improved over the past 30 years, but the CHO cell itself, a potential source of efficiency improvements, has remained largely unchanged, according to Horizon. Though the CHO genome was first sequenced in 2011, the annotation was not suitable for whole-genome screening. Together with licensing terms that restrict modification of the cells, progress in cell-line improvement has been slow, frustrating drug manufacturers, which have been seeking improvement in productivity through cell-line innovation since the development of gene-editing tools such as CRISPR. 


Horizon’s sequencing project was a part of Biocatalyst Funding, which was awarded jointly to Horizon, University of Manchester, and the Centre for Process Innovation. The project is focused primarily on large-scale gene editing to improve CHO host performance, which requires specific high-resolution sequencing of the Horizon GS knockout CHO host. Under the project, Horizon collaborated with the Sanger Institute to achieve the detailed genome sequencing needed and selected Eagle Genomics to deliver the complex annotation of the genome assembly. 

Source: Horizon Discovery