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Amgen Buying Decode Genetics for $415M

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Biopharmaceutical firm Amgen is acquiring genomic research products firm Decode Genetics for $415 million, the companies announced today.

The all-cash deal has been approved by Amgen's board and is expected to be completed before the end of the year.

In a statement Amgen President and CEO Robert Bradway said the deal "fits perfectly" with the company's goal of pursuing the rapid development of relevant molecules for disease targets without wasting money on targets that aren't as well validated.

"Decode Genetics has built a world-class capability in the study of the genetics of human disease," he said. "This capability will enhance our efforts to identify and validate human disease targets."

Reykjavik, Iceland-based Decode was founded in 1996 and went public in July 2000, raising $173 million. In 2009, though, it was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and in 2010 it sold its Decode Genetics Ehf subsidiary and drug-discovery and -development assets to investment consortium Saga Investments.

The sale included all of the Decode brand products and services, such as the Decode diagnostics disease risk tests; DecodeMe personal genome scans; and contract service offerings including genotyping, sequencing, and data analysis.

After emerging from Chapter 11 proceedings, Decode was relaunched as a privately held company focused on research in rare variants associated with common conditions. In a study that was widely reported during the summer, a team of researchers led by Decode found that children from older fathers tend to have more de novo mutations in their genomes than children born to younger fathers.

The findings could help explain higher rates of autism and schizophrenia in children with older fathers, the researchers said at the time.

"One of the ways to truly realize the full value of human genetics is to make our research synergistic with drug development efforts where target discovery, validation, and prioritization efforts can be accelerated," Kari Stefansson, founder and CEO of Decode said. "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."

In Monday morning trade on the Nasdaq, shares of Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based Amgen were up 1 percent at $89.21.