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Genome Therapeutics Corp. was one of the earliest biotech companies. It was founded in 1961 by Dr.Orrie M. Friedman under the name Collaborative Research Inc.[1] Under the leadership of Helen Donis-Keller and using internal funds, the company produced one of the first linkage maps of the whole human genome in the mid 1980s.[2][3]

The name was later changed its name to Genome Therapeutics and, in 1994, produced the first commercial genome sequence,[2] that of Helicobacter pylori, the pathogen responsible for peptic ulcers. The rights to the genome were sold to Astra AB of Sweden for $22 million and a similar deal struck with Schering-Plough.[2] In addition to infectious agents, it also worked on heritable diseases including asthma [4]

In 2004 Genome Therapeutics changed its name to Oscient Pharmaceuticals[5] and its sequencing division joined with Agencourt Bioscience. The latter spun out Agencourt Personal Genomics which was acquired by ABI for $120 million in 2007.[6]


  1. ^ "Dr. Orrie M. Friedman, 94, biotech pioneer". Boston Globe. July 1, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c "Capitalizing on the genome". 13. May 1996: 1.
  3. ^ Cook-Deegan, Robert (1996). The Gene Wars: Science, Politics and the Human Genome.
  4. ^ "Waltham firm lands $67m deal Genome Therapeutics expands asthma venture". HighBeam Research. December 24, 1996. Archived from the original on November 2, 2012.
  5. ^ "Genome Therapeutics Changes Name to Oscient Pharmaceuticals Corporation to Reflect Focus on Drug Development and Commercialization". April 13, 2004.
  6. ^ "For ABI, Developing Agencourt's Sequencing Technology Is a High Priority". GenomeWed Daily News.