From bargain to multi-million exit
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From bargain to multi-million exit

12.12.2012 - Amgen will buy deCODE Genetics for US$415m in cash. The US firm gains access to a pioneering genetics platform that has a history with steep turns.

By purchasing deCODE of Iceland, Amgen will intensify efforts to boost its drive to develop targeted drugs. Founded in 1996, deCODE Genetics specialises in analysing and understanding the links between the genome and disease susceptibility, through using its access to a well-defined population in Iceland. The company has discovered genetic risk factors for a number of diseases ranging from cardiovascular illnesses to cancer. However, deCODE failed to fulfill early expectations after going public in 2000. In 2009, the biotech filed for bankruptcy protection, loaded with 13 years of unfulfilled hopes of investors and the influence of the financial crisis. However, the two renowned investors Polaris and Arch believed in the future of deCODE's business model and pulled the company from the stock market.

According to Fierce Biotech, Polaris and Arch purchased the assets originally for only US-$14m. "deCODE Genetics has built a world-class capability in the study of the genetics of human disease," said Robert Bradway, president and CEO at Amgen. "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 programs based on less well-validated targets." "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," said Kari Stefansson, founder and CEO at deCODE Genetics, who will stay with the company.



24.11.2015 After weeks of speculation it is official: US pharma major Pfizer and Irish Botox maker Allergan will merge. With the deal, Pfizer is planning to dodge the high US taxes, causing indignation among US politicians.


23.11.2015 Amidst talk of the IPO window closing and cancelled flotations, diagnostics firms are still striking a chord with investors. Swedish Immunovia and German Curetis are successfully raising public money.


20.11.2015 French Sanofi and British AstraZeneca are giving open innovation a go: The two pharma giants will exchange thousands of compounds – for free.


19.11.2015 French gene editing company Cellectis has granted Servier the rights to bring cancer immunotherapy UCART19 to market. Servier in turn has teamed up with Pfizer to hurry development along.


17.11.2015 The first Italian accelerator specifically for biotech projects has been launched with help from Sofinnova Partners. The plan of BiovelocITA: to help Italy grow into one of Europe’s strongest biotech markets.


13.11.2015 Scientists in Bath, UK, have developed a medical dressing that turns fluorescent green when it detects infection. The researchers hope that the smart burns dressing will help fight antibiotic resistance.


13.11.2015 Out with the old: Roche is discarding four sites with 1,200 staff in an effort to restructure its manufacturing network for small molecules. Instead, a new manufacturing site will be built in Switzerland.


10.11.2015 Algae have many skills, but cancer fighting was not one of them – until now. Researchers from Australia and Germany have genetically engineered diatom algae to accurately deliver chemotherapeutic drugs.


10.11.2015 AstraZeneca has plucked Californian biopharma company ZS Pharma from under Actelion’s nose. The UK company is paying US$2.7bn (€2.5bn) to acquire ZS and its promising hyperkalaemia treatment currently under US regulatory review.


04.11.2015 What biotech stock market slump? Despite all odds, 2015 is set to become a new record year for the European public biotech sector, according to a BIOCOM-study presented at BIO Europe in Munich.


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