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DeCode Announces Mapping of Gene Linked to Rheumatoid Arthritis

NEW YORK, Nov. 29 – DeCode Genetics of Reykjavik, Iceland, said Thursday it had mapped a gene with “significant linkage” to rheumatoid arthritis.

DeCode said it identified the gene by studying more than 2,500 volunteers afflicted with the disease and their relatives from more than 100 families across Iceland. Data from the genome-wide study of the participants were then analyzed, leading to the finding of a genetic locus that is associated with additional risk of rheumatoid arthritis. 

DeCode said that it would use its findings to develop new diagnostics and therapeutics and that it would receive milestone payments from its partner Roche of Basel, Switzerland, as a result of the finding.

“We believe that DeCode’s new discoveries and our own work [in rheumatoid arthritis] can be coupled to make effective panels of tests for disease predisposition and therapy choices," Heino von Prondzynski, head of Roche Diagnostics, said in a statement. 

In 1998, Roche and DeCode penned a four-year collaboration for the discovery of genes that could lead to the development of new drugs.

In September, DeCode announced that it had achieved several milestones in its deal with Roche to identify genes related to obesity and clinical anxiety. The Icelandic company has also provided Roche with gene targets related to Alzheimer’s disease, arterial disease of the arms and legs, osteoporosis, preeclampsia, schizophrenia, and stroke.   

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