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Merck/DeCode: Just Another Pharmacogenomics Deal?

Executive Summary

Merck's deal with deCode provides valuable endorsement of the Icelandic firm's clinical development expertise, and reinforces the Big Pharma's partnering drive. But although interesting scientifically-the partners claim the deal is different in scope and nature to most pharmacogenomics projects-this alliance is unlikely, in the near term at least, to improve Merck's chances of late-stage success.

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Merck Opens Up to Europe

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deCODE Advances into Clinic with Bayer Drug

deCODE's recent in-licensing deal with Bayer suggests the biotech's population genetics approach could be set to bear fruit. By in-licensing a compound already shown to be safe, deCODE gets to leapfrog time-consuming drug discovery and early development and move straight into Phase II with its first clinical candidate, saving valuable time and money, and validating its discovery approach to pave the way for additional similar deals. But this inexpensive deal was made for an apparently unwanted compound, and predicated on so-far unsubstantiated claims by deCODE about the link between an unnamed target and heart attack.

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