LONDON (Reuters) - Iceland's Decode Genetics has clinched its first deal with a major pharmaceutical company since emerging in 2010 from a brush with bankruptcy, signing a research collaboration with Pfizer on lupus.
The alliance will see researchers from both companies working together over the next 18 months to discover genetic variations linked to the immune system disease using the Reykjavik-based group's expertise.
The aim is to find sequence variants that are useful for understanding drug targets and could ultimately lead to diagnostic tests for use alongside treatments, Decode said on Wednesday.
Decode, a pioneer in genetic research, filed for bankruptcy protection in November 2009, weighed down by debts after 13 years of failing to make a profit. But the previously Nasdaq-listed company returned as a private business in January 2010 after being acquired by a consortium of investors.
Decode blazed a trail in personal genomics by trawling Iceland's unique genetic heritage, which has changed little since the Vikings arrived more than 1,000 years ago, to work out the links between genes and diseases.
Its scientists have published prolifically on genetic mutations linked to many disorders. But its drug development programs stalled and the company's DNA tests have so far brought in limited revenues.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Will Waterman)