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DeCode and Roche Ink New Drug-Development Deal

NEW YORK, Jan. 29 - DeCode and Roche have struck a three-year alliance in which the Icelandic genetic firm will focus on research to develop therapeutics for four undisclosed diseases, the companies said on Tuesday.


The agreement is a new variation of a $200 million relationship that the two companies established in February 1998. Under that agreement, DeCode supplied the big pharma firm with information about genetic factors linked to 10 common diseases.


With the new partnership, DeCode plans to get much more involved in drug development downstream, including high-throughput screening, clinical trials, medicinal chemistry, and development of pharmacogenomic testing.


"We're talking about a dramatically different contribution by DeCode, covering the entire spectrum of drug development," said CEO Kari Stefansson during an investors conference on Tuesday morning.


Stefansson said that he could not estimate the value of the new partnership or directly discuss research fees. It is known that DeCode will receive milestone payments for compounds developed, as well as royalties on any drug sales.


Under their previous partnership, Roche supplied DeCode with roughly $15 million in annual R&D funding, and Stefansson said that he did not expect that amount to decrease.


The two companies also have a five-year DNA diagnostics alliance that was arranged in 2001.


Stefansson also said that DeCode would retain eight disease categories from the earlier Roche collaboration for its own drug-development pipeline. By the agreement, DeCode may develop these drug candidates in-house or re-license them.

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