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DeCODE genetics

From ISOGG Wiki

deCODE genetics, Inc.
Type Public (Nasdaq)
Industry DNA testing
Founded 1996
Headquarters Reykjavík, Iceland
Key people Kári Stefánsson, Chairman & CEO
Products Autosomal DNA tests
Services Genetic testing

deCODE genetics, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company based in Reykjavík, Iceland. The company was founded in 1996 to identify human genes associated with common diseases using population studies, and apply the knowledge gained to guide the development of candidate drugs. So far the company has isolated genes believed to be involved in cardiovascular disease, cancer and schizophrenia, among other diseases (the company's research concerning the latter is said to represent the first time a gene has been identified by two independent studies to be associated with schizophrenia).[1]

deCODE's approach to identifying genes, and in particular its attempt to set up an Icelandic Health Sector Database (HSD) containing the medical records and genealogical and genetic data of all Icelanders, has been very controversial, and prompted national and international criticism for its approach to the concepts of privacy and consent [1] A legal judgement from the Supreme Court of Iceland in November 2003 effectively killed off the HSD project [2]. However, the company believes it can continue to identify disease-related genes without such a database[2]

The company was removed from the NASDAQ Biotechnology Index, effective with the market open on Monday, November 24, 2008[3] On November 2009 a press release announced that the company had filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in a US court, listing total assets of $69.9 million and a debt of $313.9 million. deCODE was sold to the biotechnology company Amgen in December 2012 for $415 million, and the company will no longer offer genomic screening tests.[4] Customer accounts will be permanently closed with effect from 1 January 2015.[5]


As a step toward the personal genome, the company has announced that its deCODEme service is available for $985 to anyone who wishes to send a cheek swab to learn details about disease risk and ancestry. This service was launched in November 2007 and thereby became the first web-based service to offer a comprehensive genome scan and an online analysis of an individual's DNA. More than one million Single-nucleotide polymorphisms are included in the scan [3][4]. deCODEme claims that the DNA profile it provides can supply its customers with a basis from which they are able calculate the relative risk of developing these diseases and thereby enable them to make better informed decisions about prevention and treatment. The deCODEme service currently includes information on the genetic susceptibility to close to 45 common diseases such as myocardial infarction, atrial fibrillation, several types of cancers and type-2 diabetesas well as providing insights into distant ancestry and geographical origins.

SEC filing

deCODE's 2006 10-K US Securities and Exchange Commission filing reveals that their net losses to date are in excess of 530 million dollars, and that they have never turned a profit[6]:

If we continue to incur operating losses longer than anticipated, or in amounts greater than anticipated, we may be unable to continue our operations. We incurred a net loss of $85.5 million, $62.8 million and $57.3 million for the years ended December 31, 2006, 2005 and 2004, respectively, and had an accumulated deficit of $535.7 million at December 31, 2006. We have never generated a profit and we have not generated revenues except for payments received in connection with our research and development collaborations with Roche, Merck and others, from contract services, from sales of Emerald BioSystems products and instruments, and grant funding. Our research and development expenditures and selling, general and administrative costs have exceeded our revenue to date, and we expect to spend significant additional amounts to fund research and development in order to enhance our core technologies and undertake product development (including drug development and related clinical trials). We do not expect to receive royalties or other revenues from commercial sales of products developed using our technology in the near term. It may be several years before product revenues materialize, if they do at all. As a result, we expect to incur net losses for several years. If the time required to generate product revenues and achieve profitability is longer than we currently anticipate, or if the level of losses is greater than we currently anticipate, we may not be able to continue our operations.

The same SEC filing indicates that deCODE is involved in a lawsuit against former employees for computer fraud and disclosure of confidential information.

If we are not successful in our pending litigation regarding misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of related non-competition, non-solicitation and non-disclosure agreements, our ability to protect our confidential information and to enforce non-competition and non-solicitation agreements against former employees may be impaired, which could adversely affect our business and prospects. On August 4, 2006 we commenced an action in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against five former employees for misappropriation of our trade secrets and intellectual property, related breach of non-competition, non-solicitation, and non-disclosure provisions of their employment agreements, and violation of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in connection with their employment by The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). It is possible that a judgment against us with respect to our allegations of trade secret misappropriation may negatively affect our ability to protect some of what we consider to be our confidential information under the law of trade secrets. Also, it is possible that a judgment against us with respect to the non-competition, non-solicitation, or non-disclosure agreements with the individual defendants (1) would allow the defendants to engage in competition with us, (2) may cause other current or former employees to test the validity of their non-competition, non-solicitation, and non-disclosure agreements when they might otherwise have refrained from doing so, or (3) may cause other institutions besides CHOP to hire our current or former employees when they might otherwise have refrained from doing so. Any of these events could impair our ability to compete for collaborative arrangements, for access to DNA samples or for product or technology licensing arrangements and ultimately could adversely affect our ability to develop and market products.


  • deCODEme Complete Scan – includes an analysis of 50 traits and conditions and a complete ancestry scan

Diagnostic tests

  • deCODE Prostate Cancer
  • deCODE Glaucoma
  • deCODE T2 Diabetes
  • deCODE Atrial Fibrillation
  • deCODE Myocardial Infarction
  • deCODE Breast Cancer


Further reading


Publications by deCODE genetics as first author or through its numerous collaborations.
  • Please see the original Wikipedia article for a "reading list" of publications.

External links


  1. Stefansson H, Sarginson J, Kong A, et al. (January 2003). "Association of neuregulin 1 with schizophrenia confirmed in a Scottish population". Am. J. Hum. Genet. 72 (1): 83–7. doi:10.1086/345442. PMID 12478479. PMC 420015.
  2. McKie, Robin (2004-05-16). "fckLRIcelandic DNA project hit by privacy storm". The Observer International. Guardian Unlimite.,6903,1217842,00.html. Retrieved 2007-11-17. 
  3. Lee, Wayne (2008-11-14). "fckLRSemi-Annual Changes to the NASDAQ Biotechnology Index". Press Release. NASDAQ Newsroom.\ACQPMZ200811142002PRIMZONEFULLFEED154749.htm&cdtime=11%2f14%2f2008%20+8%3a02PM&title=Semi-Annual%20Changes%20to%20the%20NASDAQ%20Biotechnology%20Index. Retrieved 2008-11-19. 
  4. Dan Vorhaus. Implications of Amgen/deCODE deal for genetic testing consumers. Genomics Law Report, 10 December 2012.
  5. Estes R. deCODEme Consumer Tests Discontinued. DNAeXplained blog, 30 September 2014.
  6. "deCODE genetics, SEC Edgar 10-K, 12-31-2006". Retrieved 2007-11-18. 


This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation Licence. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "deCODE genetics".