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Horizon Discovery's Dharmacon Introduces Edit-R CRISPRa Reagent Platform for Genome-Wide CRISPR Activation

First-to-market reagents enable native gene overexpression for meaningful gain-of-function studies

by Horizon Discovery Group
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Edit-R CRISPRa reagent platform Activation of IL1R2 with Edit-R CRISPRa dCas9-VPR and synthetic crRNA.Cambridge, UK, 14 November 2017: Horizon Discovery (LSE: HZD) (“Horizon” or the “Company”), a global leader in gene editing and gene modulation technologies, today (Nov. 14) 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. 

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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