Pharmacogenomics fire sale

Genaissance deal illustrates stark outlook for basic researchers

Peg Brickley(pegbrickley@hotmail.com)
Apr 3, 2003

In a sign of the distressed times in pharmacogenomics, Genaissance Pharmaceuticals this week signaled its intent to buy the remains of former rival DNA Sciences Inc., offering $1.3 million for a company that not long ago attracted $110 million in private investment.

Both companies sprouted on the hope that personalized medicine would make a place in the commercial world for researchers skilled in mining the human genome. But months of industry restructuring have gutted the early stage and pre-clinical research staffs at pharmacogenomics companies, as scientists took the blame for draining the cash pools.

Even spectacular fundraising histories were little protection for science jobs at firms such as Ontogen Corp. of Carlsbad, Calif. Like DNA Science, its payroll was heavy with scientists and it had raised about $100 million over the years. But Ontogen shed almost all its staff in December and DNA Sciences lasted only a few months...

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