Horizon Discovery’s Dharmacon introduces Edit-R CRISPRa reagent platform for genome-wide CRISPR activation

05:28 EST 14 Nov 2017 | Zyme Communications

  • First-to-market reagents enable native gene overexpression for meaningful gain-of-function studies
  • Available in multiple formats to support a wide range of applications

Cambridge, UK, 14 November 2017: Horizon Discovery (LSE: HZD) (“Horizon” or the “Company”), a global leader in gene editing and gene modulation technologies, today announced the launch of its reagent platform for CRISPR activation (CRISPRa) from its recently acquired Dharmacon™ business. This is the latest addition to the Company’s market-leading Edit-R™ portfolio for CRISPR-Cas9 genome engineering.

The new Edit-R CRISPRa offering provides researchers interested in gain-of-function studies with a powerful and easy-to-use two-component system for drug discovery, disease modeling, or pathway analysis. The straightforward system is available in lentiviral and synthetic formats and is well-suited for robust overexpression in virtually any cell system. This format is also highly amenable to arrayed studies for high-throughput, complex phenotypic analysis.

CRISPRa is a next-generation method to induce the expression of the endogenous (or native) form of the gene, and represents a transformative technology for gain-of-function studies. Previously, research tools for gene overexpression have been limited to expression plasmids, where the DNA encoding a gene is inserted into a carrier vector and introduced into cells. While effective, a CRISPRa-based system offers a more flexible and targeted system that promises to provide more reliable and relevant results.

The Edit-R CRISPRa portfolio includes genome-wide, pre-designed guide RNAs for human and mouse, as either a lentiviral expression plasmid, lentiviral particles, or a two-part synthetic guide RNA. The system further utilizes nuclease-deactivated Cas9 fused to three activation domains provided as lentiviral particles or purified plasmids.

Dr. Darrin M Disley, Chief Executive Officer, Horizon Discovery, commented: “These first-to-market, high-quality research reagents for CRISPRa are a powerful addition to the Edit-R portfolio, and further demonstrate our commitment to providing tools and services that support the advanced research that is driving the genomic revolution. These reagents are also highly complementary to Horizon’s CRISPRa screening services and so are a fantastic example of the combined solutions the Company offers to the research community.”

For more information about Horizon’s CRISPRa reagents and screening services please visit: and

Image: Activation of IL1R2 with Edit-R CRISPRa dCas9-VPR and synthetic crRNA
For image please contact

About CRISPRa:

CRISPRa (CRISPR activation), is a variant of CRISPR that employs dCas9 fused to different transcriptional activation domains, which can be directed to the promoter regions of genes. This approach allows for overexpression of genes in their endogenous context and is applicable to both coding and noncoding genes. Other technologies for overexpression includes plasmid and lentiviral-based ORFs that offer robust, exogenous overexpression, however CRISPRa enables overexpression of large transcripts for which ORF overexpression is not possible and enables whole genome activation screening in a pooled format.

About Horizon Dharmacon’s CRISPR reagents:

Horizon’s Dharmacon business is the only company offering ready-to-use, pre-designed, genome-wide CRISPR guide RNAs and dCas9-VPR expression systems for transcriptional activation, and the flexibility of expressed or synthetic guide RNAs, available in tubes or custom arrayed libraries, to enable a wide range of potential applications. Arrayed or single gene studies support customized gene sets for functional analysis, and enable a wider range of phenotypic assays than can be carried out in a lentiviral pooled format.

About Horizon Discovery Group plc

Horizon Discovery Group plc (LSE: HZD) ("Horizon") is a world leader in gene editing and gene modulation technologies. Horizon designs and engineers cells using its translational genomics platform, a highly precise and flexible suite of DNA editing tools (rAAV, ZFN, CRISPR and Transposon) and, following the acquisition of Dharmacon, Inc., its functional genomics platform comprising gene knockdown (RNAi) and gene [removed]cDNA, ORF) tools, for research and clinical applications that advance human health. Horizon’s platforms and capabilities enable researchers to alter almost any gene or modulate its function in human or mammalian cell-lines.

Horizon offers an extensive range of catalogue products and related research services to support a greater understanding of the function of genes across all species and the genetic drivers of human disease and the development of personalised molecular, cell and gene therapies. These have been adopted by over 10,000 academic, drug discovery, drug manufacturing and clinical diagnostics customers around the globe, as well as in the Company’s own R&D pipeline.

Horizon is headquartered in Cambridge, UK, and is listed on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM market under the ticker “HZD”.

Zyme Communications (Trade and Regional Media) Katie Odgaard Tel: +44 (0)7787 502 947 Email: NEXT ARTICLE

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