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Oct 23, 2013

Startup Wins Five-Year Exclusive License to deCODE Genetics Platform

  • NextCODE Health, a new startup launched with $15 million in venture capital, said today it secured an exclusive license for sequence-based clinical diagnostic applications using technology developed by deCODE genetics, the Iceland-based genomics pioneer acquired nearly a year ago by Amgen. The value of the license was not disclosed.

    NextCODE said its exclusive five-year license will enable it to use the genomics platform developed by deCODE genetics—including IT infrastructure and data analysis capabilities—for sequence-based clinical diagnostic applications. NextCODE said it will use $15 million in Series A venture financing from Polaris Partners and ARCH Venture Partners to rapidly scale the expansion of its genomics services into clinical settings.

    The genome diagnostics platform, developed over 16 years, is the first system shown capable of analyzing individual genomes on a significant scale. According to the company, the deCODE platform has successfully managed nearly half a million genomes and resulted in the publication of more than 350 peer-reviewed studies and discoveries in scientific and medical journals.

    In addition, NextCODE said it is now working with physicians and geneticists to speed up and expand their ability to diagnose patients through rapid identification of causative genes and mutations. To that end, NextCODE said, it has already begun generating undisclosed revenue through service agreements with clinical centers that include Queensland University, Boston Children's Hospital, Newcastle University, and Saitama University.

    "Our vision is to transform patient diagnosis and resultant care through the rapid and accurate use of genome sequence data, and we are deploying the most powerful tools ever developed to make this vision a reality," Hannes Smarason, NextCODE’s new CEO, said in a statement.

    Smarason, who was deCODE genetics’ CFO and evp of business and finance between 1997 and 2004, is one of two newly named top executives; the other is Jeff Gulcher, M.D., Ph.D., who will serve as the new company’s president and cso.

    NextCODE has access to deCODE's genomic ordered relational database infrastructure and sequence analysis systems, which the new company said it will continue to develop “for specific needs associated with clinical research and care.” The resulting analysis will be supported through access to deCODE's collection of more than 40 million validated variants, which according to NextCODE is the world's largest collection of genetic variants paired with clinical data. 



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