Genomics Pioneer deCode Goes Bust | November 23, 2009 Issue - Vol. 87 Issue 47 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 87 Issue 47 | p. 16 | Concentrates
Issue Date: November 23, 2009

Genomics Pioneer deCode Goes Bust

Department: Business
Keywords: deCode genetics, genomics

Over a year into its attempts to revamp its business and reduce its debt, Icelandic firm deCode genetics has filed for bankruptcy. The storied geno­mics company was founded in 1996 and quickly gained notoriety for using the medical records and relatively homogenous genetic profile of the Icelandic population to try to determine the genetic underpinnings of diseases. Despite finding a long list of genetic “links” to diseases, deCode failed to translate its data into products. It burned through hundreds of millions of dollars in its lifetime and never turned a profit. The company’s debt is now roughly $314 million, and assets total just $70 million. A U.S. investment firm has been enlisted to help sell its Iceland-based subsidiary Islensk Erfdagreining, which is responsible for deCode’s human genetics and its drug discovery and development programs. The fate of the company’s research operations across several sites in the U.S. has yet to be determined. One unit, deCode biostructures, a Bainbridge Island, Wash.-based gene-to-structure contract research organization, was renamed Emerald Biostructures and acquired by a group of investors earlier this month.

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