Los Angeles Business Journal

Amgen Buys Genetics Firm in Iceland

By Deborah Crowe Monday, December 10, 2012

Amgen Inc. on Monday said that it has agreed to buy Decode Genetics, an Icelandic company that can help Amgen develop personalized drug therapies, for $415 million.

The Reykjavik human genetics research firm has developed technology to better understand the link between an individual’s genetic code and their susceptibility to certain diseases. Decode has discovered genetic risk factors for dozens of diseases ranging from cardiovascular disease to cancer.

Amgen Chief Executive Robert Bradway said Decode will help Amgen develop and test genetically targeted drugs. “This fits perfectly with our objective to pursue rapid development of relevant molecules that reach the right disease targets,” Bradway said in a statement.

Decode, founded in 1996, takes advantage of the unusual genetic makeup of Iceland’s inhabitants, which has changed little since Viking days. But the public company lacked resources to commercialize its research. Decode filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009, re-emerging as a private company.

The company is now owned by Saga Investments LLC, a consortium that includes Polaris Venture Partners and Arch Venture Partners. The acquistion does not require regulatory approval and is expected to close by the end of the year.

Amgen shares closed up $1.42, or 1.6 percent, to $89.74 on the Nasdaq.