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Roche seals alliance with Icelandic gene firm

Roche headquarters in Basel


The pharmaceuticals giant, Roche, has finalised a five-year agreement with the Icelandic company, deCODE genetics, to develop and market DNA-based diagnostics for common diseases.

The agreement followed a letter of intent published in March. The companies estimate the total value of the collaboration to exceed SFr540 million ($300 million).

Roche spokeswoman Katja Prowald told swissinfo that this was an important deal for the Basel-based company as it brings together Roche's research programmes and deCODE's market leadership in its integrated approach to genetic research.

"The new deal will lead to the development of diagnostic tools mainly in the fields of inflamation, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer," explained Prowald.

It was only in February of last year that deCODE was first awarded its license
by the Icelandic government to create an Icelandic Health Sector Database and operate it commercially for twelve years.

Iceland's deCODE, which conducts research into the inherited causes of common diseases, struck a unique deal with the government. It allows the company access to the genetic records of the whole population of Iceland.

The worldwide market for genomic diagnostics is estimated to grow to SFr7.2 billion over the next decade. Roche aims to capture a major share of the market.

swissinfo with agencies

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