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Biotechnology: Genomics's Wheelers and Dealers

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Science  07 Feb 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5301, pp. 774-775
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5301.774

Affymetrix

Genset

Genome Therapeutics Corp.

Human Genome Sciences

Incyte Pharmaceuticals

Millennium Pharmaceuticals

Myriad Genetics

Sequana Therapeutics

Unless otherwise noted, all stock and compensation information comes from company prospectuses filed for initial public offerings (IPOs), and the value of all collaborative deals listed is the total potential revenue, excluding milestone and royalty payments if products are developed. Note that the quoted stock prices likely have changed significantly as the market fluctuates daily, and that stock holdings may include options that have yet to become vested.

Affymetrix

Santa Clara, California

Key feature: Designing DNA probe arrays using GeneChip system

Key technologies: Semiconductor fabrication techniques that put DNA sequences on glass “chips”

“Our chips allow people much easier access to genetic information. There's a lot we can do by looking at patterns.”

Stephen Fodor, President

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Genset

Paris

Key feature: Identifying genes and regulatory regions of genes

Key technologies: Large-scale, high-throughput sequencing; technique for isolating “5 prime” sequences at beginning of genes (including regulatory regions); “functional polymorphism scanning” for analyzing gene variations in a population; bioinformatics

“We discover pathways with minimal benchwork.”

Daniel Cohen, Chief Genomics Officer

C. Vioujard/Gamma Liaison

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Genome Therapeutics Corp.

Waltham, Massachusetts

Key feature: Sequences pathogen genomes

Key technologies: Proprietary high-throughput “multiplex” DNA sequencing; positional cloning; bioinformatics

“In bacteria, the gap between gene discovery and drug discovery is so much shorter than in humans.”

Bernd Seizinger, Chief Scientific Officer

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Human Genome Sciences

Rockville, Maryland

Key feature: Sells subscriptions to the Human Gene Anatomy Project, putatively the world's largest collection of cDNAs from normal and abnormal human tissues

Key technologies: Large-scale sequencing; bioinformatics

“Our database is a tool of invaluable power for asking medical questions.”

William Haseltine, CEO

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Incyte Pharmaceuticals

Palo Alto, California

Key feature: Sells subscriptions to Internet-accessible LIFESEQ database of cDNA sequences and expression patterns

Key technologies: Large-scale sequencing; expression analysis; bioinformatics

“In biotech before, people were staking out claims and trying to mine. [Now we're] making a business out of selling tools to miners.”

Roy Whitfield, CEO

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Millennium Pharmaceuticals

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Key feature: Identifying disease genes with synergistic approaches

Key technologies: Large-scale DNA sequencing; rapid analysis of differential gene expression; positional cloning; high-throughput expression cloning; bioassays for high-throughput drug screens; bioinformatics; comparative genetics

“Genomics is a whole set of technologies, and it's going to dramatically change the pharmaceutical industry.”

Mark Levin, CEO

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Myriad Genetics

Salt Lake City

Key feature: Developing predisposition tests using more than 25,000 clinical samples from large, multigenerational Utah families

Key technologies: High-speed gene sequencing; positional cloning; bioinformatics

“There's a significant opportunity in genetics predisposition testing rather than in developing therapeutics on our own, which is a much riskier proposition.”

Peter Meldrum, CEO

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Sequana Therapeutics

La Jolla, California

Key feature: Has access to more than 30,000 DNA samples from individuals and families affected by specific diseases

Key technologies: Positional cloning; high-throughput DNA sequencers and analyzers; high-throughput cell-based drug screens; bioinformatics; comparative genetics

“All biotechnology companies, by dint of the power of genomics, will have to tailor their research programs toward genomics.”

Kevin Kinsella, CEO

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