Signup for our free newsletter:

Biotech Buys Genetic Disease Research Firm

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted December 12, 2012

Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN), a leading biotech company, has stated that it will buy out Icelandic human genetics research and analytics company deCODE Genetics.

Amgen is the world’s largest biotech firm based on revenue, so that goes nicely with the fact that this is a $415 million cash deal.

DeCODE has identified genetic risk factors for diseases across a broad spectrum, creating a massive genetic and medical database of the population of Iceland.

The potential is enormous, of course—the large pool of genetic data can provide correlations between genetic data and observed disease instances.

The Washington Post reports:

“DeCODE Genetics has built a world-class capability in the study of the genetics of human disease. This capability will enhance our efforts to identify and validate human disease targets,” Amgen CEO Robert Bradway said in a statement.

This acquisition will provide Amgen with the possibility of developing drugs in a more targeted way, relying on deCODE’s genetic knowhow. Drug trials are long and expensive; every ineffective drug represents a lot of lost revenue, time, and resources. Efficiency, therefore, is the grail of all biotech and pharmaceutical companies.

Amgen’s board has approved the arrangement, and everything should wrap up by year’s end. Last year, the company had sales of $15.6 billion with $3.7 billion in income.

Amgen has been around since 1980; the company focuses on high-power biologic medicines (that is, drugs developed by living cells rather than chemical synthetics), and is behind Aranesp and Epogen (both for anemia), Enbrel (immune disorders), and Prolia (osteoporosis).

Shares rose 1.6 percent on Wednesday after the announcement. The company has gained more than 40 percent this year.