Research and development expense for proprietary programs was $4.2 million for the first quarter of this year, compared to $12.7 million for the same period last year. This reflects the company’s current focus on applying its established capabilities in human genetics to drive its diagnostics and deCODEme businesses, and the curtailment of investment in clinical trials for its therapeutics programs reflected in the 2008 period. Selling, general and administrative expenses for the first quarter 2009 were $4.9 million, compared to $7.2 million for the first quarter 2008.

At March 31, 2009, the company had cash and cash equivalents of $6.1 million, compared to $3.7 million at December 31, 2008. In early 2009 the company sold its auction rate securities (ARS) for approximately $11.0 million in cash, and last month, the company signed licensing agreements with Celera Corporation under which it received an upfront payment and will receive royalties on sales of Celera testing products and services incorporating deCODE genetic risk markers. The company believes it has sufficient resources to sustain operations through the second quarter of this year.

“Over the past few months we have been recasting deCODE’s business around what we do best: discover genetic risk factors for common diseases and apply those findings in tests and services that can improve the prevention and treatment of disease. Our partnership with Celera is one facet of this strategy. Preliminary acceptance of our US patent application for one of our major genetic risk markers also underscores the wisdom of our approach to intellectual property, both for differentiating our products from the rest of the field and for pursuing additional licensing partnerships. At the same time, we are engaged in negotiations on large-scale sequencing collaborations, debt restructuring and equity financing, and on the sale of certain business units and therapeutics programs. Our aim in pursuing all of these opportunities is to position deCODE to capture the commercial potential of our leadership in human genetics,” said Kari Stefansson, chief executive officer of deCODE.