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Timelines: 1989

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French genomics


Pascal Brandys
Genset is founded in Paris by French entrepreneur Pascal Brandys and geneticist Marc Vasseur. The company is associated with a number of firsts – Genset was the first dedicated European genomics company; in 1994, it organized the first large scale program to analyze the regulatory sequences of the human genome; and, in 1997, assembled the world’s first dedicated pharmacogenomics business, in collaboration with Abbott Laboratories. Like many genomics companies, Genset eventually decided that it needed to move from the information business into drug development. At that juncture, in 2000, Brandys resigned and moved to San Diego to start a life science holding company called Biobank. Vasseur also departed to found Pasteur Mediavita, a spin-off from the Pasteur Institut where he had held a research position prior to starting Genset. Pasteur Mediavita is a life science media, communications, and educational resources firm. Genset’s drug development plan did not pan out. The company was sold to Serono of Switzerland in 2002, and became the Serono Genetics Institute SA. Vasseur returned to direct central nervous system research, and is still affiliated with the unit as Director and Chair.
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