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Affymetrix and DeCode Collaborate on Gene Tests for Drug Response in Common Diseases

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Affymetrix and DeCode Genetics have signed an agreement to use Affymetrix GeneChip technology to develop DNA-based tests for patient response to common disease treatments.

The companies will conduct gene expression analysis on clinical trial populations to discover gene expression patterns corresponding to responses to drugs for high cholesterol, depression, asthma, hypertension, breast cancer, schizophrenia, and migraine, and then develop and market chip-based diagnostic assays for drug response patterns, said DeCode’s CEO Kari Stefansson.

DeCode has already tested populations of responders and non-responders to steroids for asthma with GeneChip arrays and found 400 differentially expressed genes in these populations, Stefansson said. “Then we used our own proprietary mathematical algorithms to select out 24 genes that gave well over 90 percent predictions of responders and non-responders to steroids. This is the paradigm that we are going to follow in our attempt to develop pharmacogenomic [assays] for a large number of the most commonly used drugs in our society.’

Under the agreement, Affymetrix will supply the GeneChips, and DeCode will supply the population genetics and bioinformatics expertise. The companies will share any revenues from DNA-based tests the parties develop.

When the companies have developed specific assays, Affymetrix will also develop pharmacogenomic chip assays that contain only the relevant response-related genes, Stefansson said. “We want to make [the assay] cheap, make it effective and Affymetrix has been put in a particularly effective position to develop all kinds of combinations of chips with the genes.’

— MMJ

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