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The recent bankruptcy filing by deCODE, a company with an exceptional pedigree in associating genetic variance with disease onset, highlights the commercial risks of translational research. Indeed, deCODE's approach was similar to that adapted by academic researchers who seek to connect genetics and disease. We argue here that neither a purely corporate nor purely academic model is entirely appropriate for such research. Instead, we suggest that the private sector undertake the high-throughput elements of translational research, while the public sector and governments assume the role of providing long-term funding to develop gifted scientists with the confidence to attempt to use genetic data as a stepping stone to a truly mechanistic understanding of complex disease.

Original publication




Journal article


Sci Transl Med

Publication Date





Cooperative Behavior, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Genetics, Medical, Genomics, Humans, Private Sector, Public Sector, Research Support as Topic, Risk, Translational Medical Research