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Gemini in Talks with Celera for Closer Collaboration - Reuters

NEW YORK, Jan 17 - Gemini Genomics CEO Paul Kelly said the population genetics company is discussing a closer relationship with Celera, Reuters report Wednesday from London.

Gemini has been working with Celera since September 1999 to discover genes and SNPs associated with chronic age-related diseases. Under the current agreement, the companies are each other’s exclusive partner in the chronic age-related disease area, and share equally in any revenues produced by diagnostics and therapeutics that come out of their collaboration.

But recently, Celera has been looking to expand its population genetics efforts.

Peter Chambre, Celera’s chief operating officer announced last week at the JP Morgan H &Q   conference that Celera would be looking to form partnerships with population genetics companies, GenomeWeb reported earlier. The purpose of these partnerships would be to speed up discovery of disease-associated genes and to build its molecular diagnostics initiatives, Chambre said.

Kelly did not give further information about the plans to increase the collaboration, and a Celera spokeswoman said the company had no comment on the matter.

Winton Gibbons, an analyst who covers Celera at William Blair in Chicago, said that even if Gemini and Celera do expand the terms of their partnership, the collaboration is likely to be quite limited and Celera will continue to seek other partners in the area of population genetics.

“Celera is looking to be more involved in population studies,” said Gibbons. “But it’s my [view] that they have not found per se a one-off partner, be it Gemini, Decode, DNA Sciences, or Myriad. I don’t think Celera has found [a company] broad enough, with the right patient populations across the right diseases across the right samples.”

But Gibbons conceded that Celera might find additional information for a new collaboration in Gemini's database of genetic information from twins, families with specific diseases, isolated populations, and drug trial subjects.

Gemini Genomics could not be reached for comment.

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