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Perlegen Hopes FUSION Diabetes Pact Will Lead to Pharmacogenomics Deals

NEW YORK, Dec. 9 - Emboldened by its place at an international study looking for genetic clues to diabetes, Perlegen is eager to take its genotyping chops to the next level and sign a commercial pharmacogenomics partnership.


Diabetes research is "certainly an area of tremendous interest to us, and we'd love to work with a pharmaceutical company in this arena," Perlegen CFO Matthew Fust told GenomeWeb in a recent interview. "I think it would be very interesting to look at [the current diabetes project] in parallel with a commercial basis."


Last October, the Affy spinoff announced it will offer its microarray-based SNP-genotyping services to an international consortium studying type 2 diabetes. The consortium, which comprises the NHGRI, the National Public Health Institute of Finland, the University of Southern California, and the University of Michigan, asked the company to narrow its search after the group's efforts led it to a cluster of genes on chromosome 6.


Though Fust said Perlegen currently is not involved in a diabetes pharmacogenomics partnership, it's not tough to envision how its technology can participate in one. Since the FUSION gig deals only with certain genes on a single chromosome, one likely pharmacogenomics deal may see Perlegen using its technology to read the entire genome.


In fact, Perlegen's ability to scan for 1.7 million SNPs across the genome could be enough to lure risk-averse pharmas out of their shells. Some of these pharma shops may be diabetes players like Lilly, Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Aventis.

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