deCode Announces Lupus Gene Agreement with Pfizer
deCODE genetics, headquartered in Reykjavik, Iceland, yesterday announced that they had entered into a research partnership with Pfizer. The collaboration will seek to discover “sequence variants associated with specific clinical phenotypes related to systemic lupus erythematosis by utilizing the Reykjavik-based firm’s expertise in gene discovery”.
Over the next 18 months, deCODE and Pfizer will work together to analyse the genomes of patients to examine for sequence variants that would be useful for understanding and discovering novel drug targets, that may ultimately lead to tools for patient stratification and companion diagnostics.
Kari Stefansson, founder and CEO of deCODE, commented that the “agreement is a part of deCODE’s ongoing strategy to unleash the value of human genetics.” “Our research platform allows us to understand the genetic basis of disease and modifiers of clinical phenotypes in actual patient populations; by doing so, we can rapidly move from targets to patient stratification and from there to companion diagnostics.”
The research collaboration will utilize the expertise and capabilities of both deCODE and Pfizer: deCODE’s comprehensive population genetics resources and analytical expertise; and Pfizer’s dedication to the application of genomic analysis to the discovery and development of drugs.
The deal is especially good news for deCODE, who have had a tough time in the past few years. They filed for bankruptcy in November 2009, but in January 2010 became a private company after being taken over by Saga Investments, a consortium that includes Polaris Ventures and ARCH Venture Partners. The original firm was started in 1996 and created a database of genetic and medical information, including 140,000 Icelanders.