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UPDATE: Sequenom, GSK Team to Create SNP Assay Portfolio

NEW YORK, Aug. 29 – Sequenom has begun the first phase of a research partnership with British drug giant GlaxoSmithKline to create a human genome-wide SNP assay portfolio to help them identify genes responsible for disease states and drug reaction, the companies said on Wednesday.

The deal calls for GlaxoSmithKline to be given access to Sequenom’s SNP assay portfolio. The pharmaceutical company then plans to select SNP candidates for genome-wide association studies. 

“We will provide GSK, by year’s end, with a genome-wide portfolio of confirmed SNP assays,” Toni Schuh, Sequenom’s president and CEO, told GenomeWeb . He would not say when the subsequent phase would begin.

"By year’s end, we will develop…over 400,000 SNP assays," he added.  

Neither company would disclose financial terms of the agreement, but Schuh said that the deal represents “a significant payment.”

"Our immediate goal is to establish a SNP assay portfolio covering all SNPs,” Allen Roses, senior vice president of genetics research at GlaxoSmithKline, said in a statement. 

“We are confident that Sequenom can complete a project of this magnitude within our timeliness and utilize their technology to enable rapid use of whole genome SNP mapping," he added.  

“If Glaxo gets the assay portfolio and the technology, they can do anything Celera intends to do” with its own drug-discovery efforts, Schoh said. 

Last week , shareholders of San Diego-based Sequenom and UK-based Gemini Genomics have approved the firms’ plans to merge.

The combined company, which will retain the name Sequenom, must still obtain approval from the High Court of Justice in England and Wales. 

The companies anticipate the deal to close at the end of September, Schoh confirmed today.

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