* Sale follows bankruptcy filing by parent group
* Decode will continue to offer diagnostics, genome scans
LONDON, Jan 21 Iceland's Decode Genetics ehf
returned as a private biotech company with new finance on
Thursday after being acquired from its former parent by a
consortium of investors.
The previously Nasdaq-listed parent company Decode Genetics
Inc DCGN.PK, a pioneer in genetic research, filed for
bankruptcy protection in November, weighed down by debts after
13 years of failing to make a profit.
Management said at the time, however, that it planned to
sell the group's core genetics business to Saga Investments LLC,
comprising a group of investors that includes some of Decode's
original venture capital backers.
Decode blazed a trail in personal genomics by trawling
Iceland's unique genetic heritage, which has changed little
since the Vikings arrived more than 1,000 years ago, to work out
the links between genes and common diseases.
Its scientists have published prolifically on genetic
mutations linked to schizophrenia, cancer and other diseases.
But its drug development programs stalled and the company's DNA
tests for diseases have not brought in much cash.
A final blow came last year after company funds managed by
Lehman Brothers were invested in U.S. auction-rate securities,
the market for which seized up during the credit crisis.
The new Decode said it would continue its operations
covering diagnostics disease risk tests, personal genome scans
and contract services.
The company will be led by Earl "Duke" Collier, previously
an executive vice president at Genzyme Corp GENZ.O, who will
serve as chief executive, and Decode's own former CEO Kari
Stefansson, who will be executive chairman and president of
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by David Cowell)