By Kim Coghill

Washington Editor

DeCode Genetics Inc., a pharmacogenomics company based in Reykjavik, Iceland, said it has filed patents in the U.S. on 350 genes it has identified that can be linked to about 40 common diseases.

Through use of its Clinical Genome Miner database, the company has been able to associate the genes with diseases, including Alzheimer¿s, Parkinson¿s, heart disease, asthma and a host of others. DeCode also intends to file for European patents.

Much of DeCode¿s genetic research is conducted upon the Icelandic population, which is considered more homogenous than any other in Europe.

¿The identification of these targets is resounding confirmation of the power of our data-mining tools and of the inherent strengths of our population approach and integrated data,¿ Kari Stefansson, CEO of DeCode, said in a prepared statement. ¿These targets substantially augment our intellectual property portfolio, opening exciting new avenues for drug discovery and value creation as we continue to expand our downstream capabilities toward the development of products for the market.¿

DeCode¿s business model consists primarily of gene discovery, its database and other bioinformatics tools.

Recently, DeCode announced that it mapped a gene contributing to late-onset Parkinson¿s disease. The gene was mapped to a small region of chromosome 1 through analysis of genotypic data from volunteer late-stage disease patients and their unaffected relatives from 51 Icelandic families.

In other business in recent months, DeCode signed a collaboration with Santa Clara, Calif.-based Affymetrix Inc. to develop DNA-based tests to predict the responsiveness of patients to treatments for conditions such as high cholesterol, depression, asthma, hypertension, breast cancer, schizophrenia and migraine. The company has other agreements with Foster City, Calif.-based Applied Biosystems Group and Basel, Switzerland-based F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd. (See BioWorld Today, July 25, 2001; July 3, 2001; and March 7, 2001.)

A company official able to comment on the news could not be reached for comment. DeCode¿s stock (NASDAQ:DCGN) fell 3 cents Wednesday to close at $8.29.