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DeCode Says Reaches Milestones in Roche Deal

NEW YORK, Sept. 11 – DeCode of Reykjavik, Iceland said Tuesday that it has achieved several milestones in its deal with Roche to identify genes related to obesity and clinical anxiety.

DeCode said in a statement that it used genotypic data from more than 11,000 volunteers to locate a chromosomal region that contributes to obesity. The company said that through its studies it also located a gene variant that may protect obese people from contracting type-2 diabetes.

In addition, DeCode said that its genome-wide linkage studies have resulted in new findings about the genomic roots of clinical anxiety. The company genotyped some 500 individuals who had indicated that they had symptoms of anxiety and also focused on extended families where at least one individual suffered from panic disorder.

"DeCode’s success in localizing disease-contributing genetic factors even in such complex disorders as anxiety and obesity marks once more achievements that we believe could not easily be obtained by anyone else," Jonathan Knowles, head of global research at Roche, said in a statement. "We look forward to distilling new approaches to the treatment of these important medical problems from the knowledge gained by this work."

In 1998, DeCode and Roche of Basel, Switzerland, signed a four-year collaboration deal to discover novel disease-related genes. In addition to the recent findings, DeCode has also provided Roche with gene targets related to Alzheimer’s disease, arterial disease of the arms and legs, osteoporosis, preeclampsia, schizophrenia, and stroke.  

DeCode receives milestone payments from Roche based on the findings.

In July, DeCode and Roche signed a separate five-year deal to develop DNA-based diagnostics. DeCode has estimated that that deal could be worth some $300 million.

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