American Company Buys deCODE

11.12.2012
Words by Paul Fontaine
The American biopharmaceutical company Amgen has bought deCODE Genetics for $415 million.

In its time, deCODE Genetics was one of Iceland's hottest rising stars in the financial world. Making headlines for holding a genetic and medical database of thousands of Icelanders, it was the first company to be listed on NASDAQ. Although opening at about $30 per share, it soon plummeted to almost nothing, and declared bankruptcy in November 2009.

Despite this languishing state of affairs, it seems the company was still able to draw the interest of investors:
The biotechnology giant Amgen, seeking to bolster its drug discovery efforts, said Monday that it would pay $415 million to acquire deCODE Genetics, a gene-hunting firm based in Iceland and known for its headline-grabbing discoveries linking genetic variations to disease. The all-cash deal will give Amgen, based in Thousand Oaks, Calif., access to Reykjavik, Iceland-based deCODE's technology. DeCODE, which is privately held, has had trouble building a sustainable business, and it filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009. It was bought out of bankruptcy in 2010 by Saga Investments, a group led by two venture capital companies, Polaris Venture Partners and Arch Venture Partners.
Björn Zoega, the director of Landspitali national hospital, told RÚV that he believes the buy-out will have a positive effect on Icelandic genetic research in particular, and on medical care as a whole.

Sean Harper, the CMO of Amgen, told reporters that deCODE will continue doing the business it always has been in Iceland, and that contrary to anyone losing their jobs, it is hoped that there will be more hires.

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