Cambridge Love Triangle: Leading Biotechs Abcam and Horizon finally collaborate together

Cambridge University LaBiotech Tour

This is the story of how Abcam and Horizon fell in collaborative-biotech-love and finally came together to partner up on antibody research.

Whilst doing his post-doc at University of Cambridge, Jonathan Milner had an idea to improve how antibodies could be produced for researchers around the World. Thus, he founded the company Abcam in 1998. Over 15 years later, the company is one of the leading worldwide providers of antibodies, counting 800 employees with a worth of €1.6Bn on the London Stock Market.

Suddenly, Milner had millions to spare and decided to invest in new Biotech start-ups, including Horizon. It was founded in 2005 and has been doing extremely well business-wise by providing genomic research. It already counts 200 employees and is worth €211M on the London stock exchange whilst Milner remains the biggest private investor in the company today.

Knowing this background, it sounds pretty obvious that both companies would jump at the chance to collaborate on some research if the opportunity arose.

And indeed, the opportunity has arrived, as Abcam will enter a partnership with Horizon to use their cell lines to discover new antibodies, validate existing ones and access personalized cell lines at a reduced costs. Horizon will receive €900k ($1M) for the three first years of this collaboration, with a further potential €1.74M payments for years 4 to 6, if the partnership is extended. In addition, Horizon will also receive royalty payments on antibody sales discovered through use of its own research tools.

Overall, this deal seems a pretty obvious step forward and I am even surprised they didn’t come up with it earlier considering the history of both companies and their common connections.

BONUS: we visited both companies during our documentary in the UK, here’s the exclusive video:

Alan Hirzel, CEO of Abcam:

Darrin Disley, CEO of Horizon

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