Abbott Makes Pact with Genomics Firm

Article excerpt

Abbott Laboratories entered a research agreement with a French genomics company Thursday to search for genes linked to bipolar disorder and Type II diabetes and to develop drugs to combat the diseases.

Abbott previously worked with Paris-based Genset SA to find genetic signs of a predisposition to liver damage in patients taking Abbott's Zyflow asthma drug. The three-year collaboration identified genes that predict the reaction, which affects about 5 percent of Zyflow patients, but has yet to result in a clinical test.

In the first year of the new deal, researchers in Paris will compare the DNA of patients with bipolar disorder, a severe psychiatric condition, with those without the disease. Genset will do the same comparison with Type II diabetes in the second year of the agreement, said Donald Halbert, director of genomics for Abbott.

Researchers at Libertyville Township-based Abbott will then attempt to develop drugs that will act on genes identified as possible causes of the diseases.

"We are trying to find novel (genetic) targets for these new drugs," Halbert said. …