Research group's stock jumps 16%; PE Corp.-Celera gains on DNA-sequencing news; Genomics


WASHINGTON -- PE Corp.-Celera Genomics Group shares rose 16 percent yesterday after the company said it had sequenced 1.2 billion human DNA base pairs, the alphabet of the genetic code.

Shares in the company rose $5.9375 to close at $42.1875, and the company's shares are up 35 percent in two days.

Yesterday's rise was the largest one-day percentage gain since Perkin-Elmer Corp. introduced Rockville-based Celera as a tracking stock in April.

President and Chief Scientific Officer J. Craig Venter said many of the base-pair sets served as blueprints for molecules that could be used by drug companies to create better therapies. Celera said it has filed patent applications for 6,500 different sets.

"Included in this set are several thousand receptors, ion channels, and secreted proteins that we believe will be of significant interest to pharmaceutical companies," Venter said.

Only three companies have access to the data as part of Celera's "early access" program -- Amgen Inc., Novartis AG and Pharmacia & Upjohn, though Venter said Celera expects to make the data available to more clients.

Venter said the genetic data gives companies a myriad of chemical targets for drug development, which could lead to therapies for a variety of diseases, including heart disease, asthma and migraine headaches.

"I think this will represent a real leap forward for the number of targets for developing drugs," he said.

The 1.2 billion base pairs represent a third of the human genome, the blueprint for the human body.

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