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deCODE and Celera Partner to Expand Use of deCODE Risk Markers for Heart Attack, Stroke and Diabetes

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deCODE genetics and Celera Corporation have announced the signing of agreements under which deCODE has granted Celera non-exclusive worldwide licenses to deCODE’s genetic markers for increased risk of major cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, including heart attack, stroke, atrial fibrillation (AF) and type 2 diabetes (T2D). These markers can be incorporated into laboratory tests for assessing and managing individual risk of these diseases.

The deCODE markers include single letter variations in the human genome (SNPs) on chromosome 9p21 linked to increased risk of heart attack and aortic aneurysm, SNPs on chromosome 4q25 conferring risk of AF and stroke, and SNPs in the TCF7L2 gene linked to increased risk of T2D. Studies by deCODE and independent academic groups have demonstrated the utility of testing for these markers to better understand individual risk and to inform more effective and personalized prevention and therapy.

Individuals who carry two copies of the at-risk SNPs on chromosome 9p21 are at an approximately 60% greater than average risk of early-onset heart attack1, and physicians could use this information and expert opinion to optimize the appropriate lifestyle, dietary and drug treatments for their patients2.

Carrying two copies of the SNPs on 4q25 correlates to both an increased risk of stroke and up to twice the average risk of AF3, a common cardiac arrhythmia and a major cause of cardiogenic stroke. Testing for this risk factor provides a new means of identifying stroke patients who could most benefit from outpatient cardiac monitoring.

The SNPs in TCF7L2 are the most important genetic risk factor yet found for type 2 diabetes4. Testing individuals with borderline elevated glucose (prediabetes) can identify those who are most likely to progress rapidly to full-blown T2D, and testing can also help to predict therapeutic response to sulfonylureas.

Under the terms of the agreements, deCODE will receive an upfront payment and royalties on sales of testing products incorporating its markers. Additional financial details were not disclosed.