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Friday October 20, 7:01 am Eastern Time
Press Release
SOURCE: deCODE genetics and F. Hoffman-La Roche
deCODE genetics and Roche Announce Identification of Schizophrenia Gene
REYKJAVIK, Iceland, and BASEL, Switzerland, Oct. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- deCODE genetics (Nasdaq: DCGN; Easdaq) and Roche announced today that scientists at deCODE together with psychiatrists from the Icelandic healthcare system have identified a gene linked to schizophrenia.

This discovery is the result of a genome-wide screen conducted with the participation of 400 Icelandic schizophrenia patients and an equal number of their unaffected family members. The study marks a crucial step towards identifying susceptibility genes and understanding their function in this disease.

Using deCODE's research results, Roche scientists are developing new diagnostic and therapeutic tools. deCODE has received an undisclosed milestone payment for part of this accomplishment.

Approximately 0.5% to 1.0% of people worldwide will develop schizophrenia during their lifetime. Its onset usually occurs in early adulthood and affects its victims lifelong, exacting a heavy toll on both patients and their families. Current therapies are limited in their effectiveness because of the limited understanding of the biology and molecular pathology of the disease. Finding specific disease-linked gene variants will lead to a better understanding of the nature of schizophrenia, may provide pathologically validated targets for better medicines, and may allow, based on predisposition diagnostics, prevention of the illness.

Kari Stefansson, CEO of deCODE genetics, noted that ``We are deeply grateful to the Icelandic patients who participated in this study. Their generosity and the expertise of deCODE scientists and of the physicians who support our efforts have moved us one step closer to understanding the genetic basis of schizophrenia.'

Jonathan Knowles, Head of Global Research at Roche, remarked that ``This is a truly remarkable success for our alliance with deCODE. We are excited to have access to what appears to be the first genetically-identified target for developing new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches against this devastating illness.'

deCODE genetics (http://www.decode.com), based in Reykjavik, Iceland, is conducting research into the inherited causes of common diseases. Through its population-based approach and data-mining techniques, deCODE seeks to turn raw genomics data into products and services for the healthcare industry.

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is one of the world's leading research-oriented healthcare groups in the fields of pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and vitamins. Roche's innovative products and services address prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, thus enhancing people's well-being and quality of life. Roche has approximately 62 000 employees and sells its products in over 170 countries. In the first half of 2000 the company reached sales of 13.7 billion CHF and a net income of 3 billion CHF and invested 1.9 billion CHF in Research and Development.

Research at Roche is focusing on diseases with high unmet medical need in the areas of the central nervous system, genitourinary diseases, metabolic diseases, inflammation and bone diseases, oncology and vascular diseases as well as viral diseases.

Any statements contained in this press release that relate to future plans, events or performance are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties including, but not limited to, those relating to technology and product development, market acceptance, government regulation and regulatory approval processes, intellectual property rights and litigation, dependence on strategic partners, ability to obtain financing, competitive products and other risks identified in deCODE's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Actual results, events or performance may differ materially. deCODE undertakes no obligation to publicly release any revisions to these forward-looking statements resulting from events or circumstances after the date hereof.

SOURCE: deCODE genetics and F. Hoffman-La Roche

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