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Applera Pledges $75M to Develop Therapeutic, Diagnostic Products

NEW YORK, July 24 – Applera said Tuesday that it would spend $75 million over the next year to establish a wide-ranging drug discovery program across its three businesses, Celera Genomics, Celera Diagnostics, and Applied Biosystems.

The initiative would seek to commercialize therapeutic and diagnostic products based on its genomic and SNP data. The three Applera companies would make equal funding contributions to the program.

In a statement, Tony White, CEO of Applera, said that the $75 million would be used for a resequencing effort, to develop validated reagent sets, and to initiate disease association studies. "This Applera project is expected to yield information and tools that could make it possible to cost effectively identify, and therefore address, the medically relevant differences among individuals,” he said.

Celera's resequencing effort will involve 40 to 50 individuals expected to have SNPs and associated haplotypes, or neighborhoods of SNPs, associated with disease, the company said. The company intends to use this information in its internal drug discovery efforts, in collaboration with pharmaceutical partners, and eventually in a new database product within the Celera Discovery system.

ABI plans to develop assays based on Celera’s data that it can sell to the research community for gene expression and gene variation studies. The company is currently developing microarray-based platforms both internally and with partners to run the assays.

Celera Diagnostics, a joint venture between Celera Genomics and Applied Biosystems, will participate in the Applera initiative by establishing a facility for genotyping and gene expression studies to discover new diagnostic markers.

Applera plans to hold a conference call at 10 am EDT to discuss the program.

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