I noted yesterday that the annual earnings report of Icelandic biotech giant deCODE Genetics, one of the major players in modern human genetics, suggested that the company is veering steadily towards financial oblivion.
Today the company had a crucial earnings call – anyone interested in the details of deCODE’s plight, or at least a sanitised corporate version thereof, should check out the webcast
. The main messages from the call have been ably dissected by articles from Kevin Davies of Bio-IT World
and Mark Henderson at The Times
(in which I am delighted to be quoted alongside human genetics luminary Peter Donnelly).
Throughout the call deCODE CEO Kari Stefansson remained defiantly optimistic about deCODE’s future, describing it as “a company with dramatic potential” and arguing that the signs point to 2009 as being the year for personalised medicine (based on Obama’s presidency, and the fact that the markets are still backing DNA-based diagnostics despite the gloomy overall financial picture).
However, Stefansson also acknowledged that his business is “currently in a tough spot” – one of the biggest understatements in human genetics since Watson and Crick described the structure of DNA as being “of considerable biological interest
Will Stefansson be able to resurrect his company through sheer Viking determination? I hope so, but fear not – and it sounds like we’ll know for sure one way or the other within the next six months.