Altered deCode back on its feet
Reykjavik – Icelandic gene-hunter deCode Genetics has emerged from bankruptcy and will continue its genetics research and gene-based diagnostics as a private company, but it will abandon its efforts to develop drugs from its discoveries. The Reykjavik-based firm became known for using its knowledge of the human genome to detect genes associated with the risk of common diseases such as schizophrenia, cancer and heart disease. But despite its scientific success, deCode Inc. was unable to translate its findings into marketable products, and ran out of money in November of last year.
Now the company has begun a restructuring effort. It sold its Islenk Erfdagreining subsidiary, which is the custodian of deCode’s IP, to Saga Investments LLC. That alliance includes the two life science investment companies Polaris Ventures and ARCH Venture Partners.
The step has faciliated the re-emergence of deCode as deCode genetics ehf. The bankrupt parent company will change its name to DGI Resolution Inc., and is expected to be liquidated. In its new form, the company will be run by a new chief executive, Earl Collier, and by deCode-founder Kari Stefansson. Collier is a lawyer, a previous vice president of Genzyme and a member of deCode’s board. He will now lead the commercial operation from Boston (US).
Stefansson will give up his post as chief executive and become head of research and Executive Chairman. He said that the company’s genetic research in Iceland would carry on as before, and that deCode would “continue to outperform” its mostly university-based rivals in the US and the UK.