Reykjavik, January 6, 2008 – deCODE scientists today report that the genetic variant on chromosome 9p21 that the company has linked to increased risk of heart attack is also associated with up to 70% increase in risk of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) and intracranial aneurysm (IA). This is the first common genetic variant ever found to associate with either condition. The paper, entitled ‘The same sequence variant on 9p21 associates with myocardial infarction, abdominal aortic aneurysm and intracranial aneurysm,’ is published today in the online edition of Nature Genetics, at www.nature.com/ng.
AAA and IA are the most common aneurysms – balloon-like protrusions on arteries in the abdomen and head, respectively – and are potentially lethal if they are left untreated and burst. “Today’s findings enhance the importance of our 9p21 variant when it comes to risk of cardiovascular disease, and suggest that it confers this risk by affecting how artery walls respond to other risk factors such as atherosclerotic plaque and inflammation,” said Kari Stefansson, CEO of deCODE. “As we bring these findings into our cardiovascular therapeutics program, we are also incorporating them into our deCODE MI diagnostic test and our deCODEme™ personal genome analysis service. With today’s discovery and others we expect to announce in the weeks and months ahead, we underscore our global leadership in human genetics and our commitment to convert this leadership into products and the products into profit for our shareholders.”
Six months ago, deCODE reported that this SNP confers significantly increased risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) and accounts for roughly one-third of early-onset heart attacks. This discovery has now been replicated in studies of ten populations. The study published today was aimed in part at investingating how this risk is conferred. To do so, the deCODE team, – enlisting the participation of academic researchers and thousands of their patients from Iceland, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Finland, the US, Belgium, Sweden, Italy, Denmark and the UK – analyzed the association of the variant with several other cardiovascular conditions. The results show that the ‘G’ allele is suggestively but not definitively associated with conditions involving the buildup of atherosclerotic plaque, including peripheral artery disease and large artery stroke. However those with one copy of this version of the SNP had a more than 30% greater risk of both AAA and IA than non-carriers. Those with two copies – that is, who inherited the risk variant form both parents – were at more than 70% greater risk of both AAA and IA than were non-carriers. What heart attack and these types of aneurysm have in common is that all three can result from an abnormal or deficient remodeling and/or repair of vessel walls.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) supported the recruitment of AAA sample sets and controls from Belgium, Canada and Pennsylvania. In addition, the Finnish intracranial aneurysm sample collection was funded in part by NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
deCODE is a biopharmaceutical company applying its discoveries in human genetics to the development of drugs and diagnostics for common diseases. deCODE is a global leader in gene discovery — our population approach and resources have enabled us to isolate key genes contributing to major public health challenges from cardiovascular disease to cancer, genes that are providing us with drug targets rooted in the basic biology of disease. deCODE is also leveraging its expertise in human genetics and integrated drug discovery and development capabilities to offer innovative products and services in DNA-based diagnostics, bioinformatics, genotyping, structural biology, drug discovery and clinical development. deCODE is delivering on the promise of the new genetics.SM Visit us on the web at www.decode.com.
Any statements contained in this presentation that relate to future plans, events or performance are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, among others, those relating to technology and product development, integration of acquired businesses, market acceptance, government regulation and regulatory approval processes, intellectual property rights and litigation, dependence on collaborative relationships, ability to obtain financing, competitive products, industry trends and other risks identified in deCODE’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. deCODE undertakes no obligation to update or alter these forward-looking statements as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.