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deCODE makes a comeback

Two months after filing for bankruptcy, a subsidiary of the 14-year-old genomics company deCODE Genetics, based in Reykjavik, Iceland, will be resurrected as a privately owned company.

The struggling company, which had made a name for itself with its genetic database of 140,000 Icelanders, was wracked with hundreds of millions of dollars in debt at the start of the financial crisis in the autumn of 2007. In 2008, it was threatened with delisting from the NASDAQ stock exchange after its stocks dropped by 54%. deCODE challenged the delisting, but was forced to declare bankruptcy in November 2009.

Research at the new deCODE will be headed by its founder, neuroscientist Kári Stefánsson, and the company will continue to develop gene-based diagnostics, perform personal genome scans, and contract with pharmaceutical firms, while abandoning its in-house drug discovery efforts. The rebirth was orchestrated by the venture-capital consortium Saga Investments, which purchased the deCODE subsidiary, Islensk Erfdagreining, with the approval of a Delaware bankruptcy court.


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