The deCoding of Amgen

How Amgen expects to succeed where deCode foundered with genomics, data-mining

Most of the genomics pioneers fell short in their attempts to turn vast amounts of sequence data into drugs, as the task turned out to be far more complex than anyone imagined at the time. Now, more than a decade later, Amgen Inc. thinks it can succeed where one of those pioneers, deCode Genetics ehf, failed.

This month, Amgen proposed to acquire deCode for $415 million in cash. The deal includes genomic and clinical data from more than 140,000 Icelandic individuals along with deCode's proprietary algorithms and genealogy information on the entire population. The deal is expected to close by year end.

The acquisition marks the end of the ride for deCode, which raised $1.1 billion as the public company deCode Genetics Inc. before it declared bankruptcy in 2009 after a failed attempt to discover and develop its own drugs.

Despite deCode's miss, Amgen believes the databases of genomic and phenotypic information, along with deCode's data mining and computational expertise, will help the big biotech identify drug targets with the greatest chance of success.

"The prediction that genetics gives on not only efficacy, but safety, gives insight into what the disease looks like for someone who doesn't have that gene product and provides greater certainty than animal

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