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Amgen continues spending spree, acquires deCode Genetics

Will pay $415m for Icelandic genetic information firm

Amgen flag - thumbAmgen has acquired deCode Genetics, paying $415m for the Reykjavik-based genetic information firm in a deal it says will boost its ability to identify and validate disease targets.

deCode was founded in 1996 to capitalise on genomic research and it has since discovered genetic risk factors for dozens of diseases ranging from cardiovascular disease to cancer.

Robert Bradway, Amgen's president and CEO, said: "deCODE Genetics has built a world-class capability in the study of the genetics of human disease.

"This capability will enhance our efforts to identify and validate human disease targets. This fits perfectly with our objective to pursue rapid development of relevant molecules that reach the right disease targets while avoiding investments in programmes based on less well-validated targets."

deCode's early promise was that it would be able to establish an Iceland-wide genetic database, giving it access to an unrivaled population dataset, but this plan ultimately ran into difficulties with the country's authorities.

Struggling to find a successful business model the company filed for bankruptcy in the US in 2009 and was acquired by a consortium of venture capitalists.

Their input allowed deCode to continue its genome sequencing and genotyping research and last year the company struck a research deal with Pfizer to search for variants in the human genome that increase the risk of systemic lupus erythematosis.

Most recently deCode's work saw it identify a gene variant that conferred a high risk for common, late-onset form of Alzheimer's disease.

Kari Stefansson, founder and CEO at deCODE Genetics, said: "One of the ways to truly realise the full value of human genetics, is to make our research synergistic with drug development efforts where target discovery, validation and prioritisation efforts can be accelerated.

"We believe Amgen's focus and ability to incorporate our genetic research into their research and development efforts will translate our discoveries into meaningful therapies for patients."

The all-cash deal does not require regulatory approval, and is expected to close before the end of 2012. 

It also adds to a run of acquisitions that has already seen Amgen strike deals this year worth a total of $2.2bn in the form of its purchases of Turkish pharma company Mustafa Nevzat, German biotech Micromet and US biopharma Kai Pharmaceuticals.

11th December 2012

From: Research

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