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Celera Licenses Decode’s Heart, Diabetes Markers

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Decode Genetics said today that it has licensed three genetic markers for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases to Celera.

The markers may be used to create lab tests for individual risks of heart attack, stroke, atrial fibrillation, and type 2 diabetes, Decode said.

Under the agreement, Decode will receive an upfront payment and royalties from sales of testing products that use the markers.

"We believe these markers that predict risk of coronary heart disease and drug response could produce highly differentiated, proprietary, and compelling tests that personalize cardiovascular disease management," Kathy Ordonez, Celera's CEO, said in a statement.

The markers include SNPs on chromosome 9p21 linked to increased risk of heart attack and aortic aneurysm; SNPs on chromosome 4q25 conferring risk of atrial fibrillation and stroke; and SNPs in the TCF7L2 gene linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

A duplication of the SNP on chromosome 9p21 could predict which patients may be at a roughly 60 percent increased risk of early onset heart attack, and would enable doctors to give patients opinions on diet, lifestyle, and drug treatments, the company said.

Two copies of the SNPs on 4q25, meanwhile, have been correlated to an increased risk of stroke and up to twice the average risk of a common cardiac arrhythmia, which could be used to identify stroke patients that would most benefit from cardiac monitoring, Decode said.

The SNPs in TCF7L2 "are the most important genetic risk factor yet found for type 2 diabetes," the company said, and may be used to identify those who are most likely to progress rapidly to full-blown T2D. A test for these SNPs also could help predict a therapeutic response, Decode added.

"The markers included in these agreements are among the most widely replicated genetic risk factors for cardiovascular and metabolic disease, and they provide a natural complement to the biomarker services already offered by Berkeley HeartLab, Celera's subsidiary," Decode's CEO, Kari Stefansson, said in a statement.

"We expect Berkeley HeartLab to incorporate these markers into future laboratory service offerings, and Celera plans to ultimately commercialize them globally as new molecular diagnostic tests," Ordonez added.

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