Updated March 28 at 6:28pm

Amgen to acquire deCode Genetics


THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Amgen Inc., one of the world’s largest biotechnology companies, has agreed to buy genetic-testing company deCode Genetics Inc. for $415 million, Amgen announced Monday.

Amgen, which has a production facility in Rhode Island, plans to use research from Reykjavik, Iceland-based deCode to help develop new medicines that target defective DNA.

The $415 million, all-cash transaction is subject to customary closing adjustments, but does not require regulatory approval. The deal is expected to close before the end of 2012.

“DeCode Genetics has built a world-class capability in the study of the genetics of human disease,” Robert A. Bradway, president and CEO at Amgen, said in a statement. “This capability will enhance our efforts to identify and validate human disease targets. This fits perfectly with our objective to pursue rapid development of relevant molecules that reach the right disease targets while avoiding investments in programs based on less well-validated targets.”

DeCode, which was founded in 1996, is considered a global leader in analyzing and understanding the link between the genome and disease susceptibility. According to an Amgen release, using its unique expertise and access to a well-defined population in Iceland, decode Genetics has “discovered genetic risk factors for dozens of diseases ranking from cardiovascular disease to cancer.”

“One of the ways to truly realize the full value of human genetics is to make our research synergistic with drug development efforts where target discovery, validation and prioritization efforts can be accelerated,” Dr. Kari Stefansson, founder and CEO of deCode Genetics, said in a statement. “We believe Amgen’s focus and ability to incorporate our genetic research into their research and development efforts will translate our discoveries into meaningful therapies for patients.”

Closely held deCode emerged from bankruptcy in 2010. It is among a handful of companies that test the DNA of individuals to pinpoint variants that may be linked to a disease or disorder, such as cancer or heart disease. Amgen has been looking for new sources of revenue after sales of its anemia drugs have fallen.

This story was written with assistance from Bloomberg News.


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