Roche Seeks Middle Ground in Iceland
What many companies wish for these days is access to a gene pool from a population of patients afflicted with particular diseases--and not the ultra-rare familial diseases academic researchers have been tracking for years. Roche and deCode Genetics find a gene pool they like in Iceland.
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Large pharma companies are increasingly interested in using biomarkers to shorten R&D timelines and reduce the risks of developing new drugs. Roche says its recently formalized biomarker program benefits from the firm's unique expertise in diagnostics. But like its competitors embarked on siimilar efforts, Roche won't know the value of this complex undertaking for years.
Roche Diagnostics is the best performing asset at Roche. As the troubled Swiss pharma company suffers through its worst pipeline drought in a decade, Roche Diagnostics is delivering a stellar performance. It is strong across all business segments, from laboratory systems to diabetes to molecular testing. Its challenge: to pull far enough ahead in its traditional businesses to maintain a comfortable lead. Its bigger hurdle, however, is to position itself as a leader in adoption of new genomic and proteomic diagnostic technologies, which is where the industry's future growth lies.
Roche Diagnostics has signed a new five-year-alliance with deCode Genetics, in a move that suggests the preliminary success of an earlier agreement between the companies. While the earlier deal, signed in 1998, revolves around finding pharmaceutical targets, the new agreement aims to identify and validate diagnostics targets based on genes associated with common diseases.