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The Proteomic Evolution of Celera, Incyte and Myriad

This article was originally published in Start Up

Executive Summary

Impatient with the progress of genomics, investors are looking to a new set of proteomics technologies to provide the necessary boost in research productivity. Celera, Incyte, and Myriad, the heads of which we interview in this article, have each created widely different strategies for accessing the new opportunities. Aside from differences in technology approaches, the strategies of all three firms attempt to directly address the investment world's dissatisfaction with platform models-the original business model of both Incyte and Celera. Myriad has taken a low-risk leap into the world of proteomics, spinning off its proteomics tools into a new database company that will map the proteome, delivering Myriad the information it needs for its own product discovery and development programs and selling it at the same time on a non-exclusive basis to subscribers.Celera is radically modifying its information-only strategy, transforming itself into a drug discovery company that will be assisted financially with proceeds from its database business, which will itself be boosted by new proteomic data Celera will create, review before others, and then make available to subscribers. Incyte is continuing to focus on selling information as its base business, but is adding proteomic features to its basic systems through acquisition and internal development. At the same time, it is trading access to its LifeSeq database to new proteomic technology developers for a share either of their downstream product revenues and/or rights to sell the information those products generate.

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At Celera, the Swagger is Gone

Virtually nothing about Applera's Celera Genomics Group looks the same as it did six months ago. Gone are the academic struttings of former president Craig Venter and the venture culture that permeated the organization during the race to finish the rough draft of the human genome sequence. In its place is a lower-profile management team focused on acquiring the tools needed for long-term drug development. Celera's founding business, predicated on the sale of genomic information and tools for its analysis for which it raised a billion dollars from investors, has moved to Applera sister company Applied Biosystems and is now merely a residual income source: in effect, ABI can now use genomic information like a piece of capital equipment in a reagent rental business model: the economics of its sale, or lease, to customers is driven by the opportunity to sell ABI's other products.

Inside Applera: Celera Genomics Becomes Applied Bio's Diagnostics Angel

Applera Corp.'s new $75 million high-throughput genotyping initiative to be equally funded by its three businesses, Celera Genomics Group, Applied Biosystems Group, and Celera Diagnostics (a joint venture of Celera Genomics and Applied Bio) has provided a context for the company to begin to reveal its diagnostics strategy. New information about the structure of the joint venture also sheds more light on the acceleration of Celera Genomics' business strategy as it moves toward a collaborator-oriented drug discovery company model.

Intra-Biotech Alliances, Part II

What are the critical success factors which cause a joint discovery research partnership between two biotech companies to succeed? Why haven't more of these deals created significant commercial value? Each side needs significant skin in the game. If they don't, and the stakes are low for the partners, the venture remains a low priority and simply doesn't get the proper attention.

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