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DeCode Shares Surge 40 Percent on Skin Cancer SNP Findings

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Shares of DeCode Genetics climbed more than 40 percent today following an announcement that the company had discovered two SNPs associated with the risk of basal cell carcinoma, the most common cancer among people of European ancestry.
The boost in DeCode’s shares, which opened at $.36 today and were priced at $.54 in mid-afternoon trading, outpaced a broad rally in the capital markets following a massive sell-off in recent weeks.
A paper on the SNPs associated with BCC appears today in the online edition of Nature Genetics. DeCode said that approximately two percent of people of European descent carry two copies of the risk versions of both SNPs, and are at a 170 percent greater risk of BCC than those who do not carry the risk variants.
DeCode had previously found four sets of SNPs that confer risk of BCC and cutaneous melanoma, but the variations discussed in the new paper differ from those SNPs in that they are not linked to fair pigmentation traits that also make certain people prone to freckling and sunburn, DeCode said.
The new SNPs, both located on chromosome 1, “may therefore provide new insight into an underlying biological mechanism causing BCC, independent of the impact of exposure to ultraviolet radiation in sunlight,” the company said.
Today’s announcement follows the company’s launch last week of a breast cancer test that measures seven SNPs that have been found to contribute to the incidence of around 60 percent of all breast cancers.
Last Monday, DeCode said that it had received a letter from Nasdaq warning that it does not meet the $50 million minimum requirement for the market value of its stock. The company has until Oct. 30 to regain compliance with the Nasdaq listing requirement.
DeCode’s market capitalization as of midday today was $31.5 million.

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