A year ago this month, GT looked at Genaissance Pharmaceuticals and its direct competitor, Variagenics. At the time, Genaissance posited that its gamble on finding haplotypes would pay off in the sale of pharmacogenomic information. Variagenics, meanwhile, pursued its proprietary genotyping technology as the path to riches.
Both companies have been active this year. Genaissance enrolled patients at 60 medical centers to launch a haplotype study, and then launched another later in the year when one of the drugs under review was pulled from the shelves by manufacturer Bayer. New library licensees include AstraZeneca and Pfizer, and at the start of this year Genaissance said it plans to start working on new forms of a schizophrenia drug, with the first candidate ready for submission by 2005.
For its part, Variagenics announced in early January that it was close to signing a pharmacogenomics deal with a major pharmaceutical company, which would add to its existing customers including Amgen, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Isis Pharmaceuticals. It expects to wrap up this year an agreement with a diagnostics company using Variagenics’ colon-cancer data, which is also the basis for a collaboration with Korean biotech company GeneMatrix. The company was issued its third patent for the gene ApoE, which it has linked to a neurological disorder.