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deCODE Launches deCODE MI(TM) -- A Test for a Major Genetic Risk Factor for Early-onset Heart Attack

REYKJAVIK, Iceland, Oct. 11 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- deCODE genetics (Nasdaq: DCGN) today announced the launch of deCODE MI(TM), a reference laboratory test for variations in the genome (called SNPs) that the company has associated with increased risk of myocardial infarction, or heart attack. The SNPs are located on chromosome 9 and were discovered by deCODE earlier this year. As described in the journal Science in July, deCODE scientists found that people who carry two copies of these variants are at double the risk of suffering an early heart attack -- before the age of 50 in men and 60 in women -- than are those who do not carry them. deCODE validated the role of these variants in five groups of patients and controls from Iceland and the United States, and other researchers have replicated this finding in several European, US, and Canadian cohorts.

"With the launch of deCODE MI, we have taken another of our breakthroughs in genetics and transformed it into a new tool in the fight to prevent heart attack. While many risk factors for heart attack are understood, the disease remains the leading cause of death in the industrialized world and the early- onset cases often take both patients and doctors so dangerously by surprise. deCODE MI(TM) tests for a genetic risk factor that is independent of other risks such as cholesterol, obesity and smoking, and therefore provides a means of identifying individuals who may derive particular benefit from earlier and more aggressive prevention efforts," said Dr. Kari Stefansson, CEO of deCODE.

How to order deCODE MI(TM)

deCODE MI(TM) is performed in deCODE's Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certified laboratory, and must be authorized by a qualified physician. If you are an individual who would like more information on deCODE MI(TM) to discuss with your doctor, or a physician interested in learning more about deCODE MI(TM) for your patients, please visit us at

The variants detected by deCODE MI(TM), are two SNPs (single-letter variants in the genome) on chromosome 9p21. They were discovered by deCODE scientists earlier this year through genome-wide SNP analysis in Iceland and replicated in three cohorts of European descent from Philadelphia, Atlanta and Durham, North Carolina. Of the 17,000 patients and control subjects in the study, more than 20% of participants carried two copies of the variant, corresponding to a more than 60% increase in risk of heart attack, regardless of age of onset, compared to those without the variant. In early-onset cases -- men and women who suffered a heart attack before the ages of 50 and 60, respectively -- carrying two copies of the variant corresponds to an approximate doubling of risk compared to non-carriers. The variant is estimated to account for approximately one-fifth of the incidence of heart attack in populations of European origin, and nearly one third of early-onset cases, making it the one of the most significant genetic risk factors found to date for heart attack as a public health problem.

About deCODE

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. Through its CLIA-certified laboratory, deCODE is offering a growing range of DNA-based tests for gauging risk and empowering prevention of common diseases, including deCODE T2(TM) in type 2 diabetes; deCODE AF(TM) for atrial fibrillation and stroke; and deCODE MI(TM) for heart attack. deCODE is delivering on the promise of the new genetics(SM). On the web at

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.


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