Celera was founded in 1998 with the mission to sequence the human genome and provide clients with early access to the resulting data. Using state-of-the art sequencing technology supplied by Applied Biosystems and sophisticated internally-developed informatics, Celera pioneered the application of “shotgun” sequencing. While this “shotgun” approach was widely criticized at the time, it has subsequently become a standard method for sequencing complex organisms that is now broadly accepted and routinely used by many of the same scientists who originally scorned the approach. Scores of organisms have now been sequenced using the Celera “shotgun” method.

Celera went on to build a successful database business, providing custom search tools and software that enabled dozens of pharmaceutical companies and hundreds of academic, government and biotech clients to use its findings in biological research. While the Celera database business ultimately became profitable, it was clear by 2000 that this was not a sustaining business model, as the public effort caught up and provided free access to genome sequences.

Celera moved on - both scientifically and commercially. Scientifically, we recognized that understanding complex conditions like Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease required a greater understanding of human genetic variability and therefore embarked upon the Applera Genomics Initiative. This involved re-sequencing the genes and regulatory regions of 39 people to develop a catalog of human variation – focused on the parts of the genome that code proteins and are therefore most likely to impact human health. This effort resulted in the identification of over 40,000 novel functional SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms). This work has become a basis for many of the new genetic tests that Celera is developing.

In January of 2006, Celera announced our intention to partner our small molecule drug programs and acquired full rights to Celera Diagnostics, which had previously been run as a joint venture with Applied Biosystems.

Today, Celera is a healthcare company focused on personalizing disease management through diagnostic products and services.

Historical Highlights


May —
Celera Genomics founded by Applera Corporation and Dr. J. Craig Venter, with the primary mission of sequencing and assembling the human genome within three years.
May — Recapitalization results in the issuance of two classes of stock; Applera Corporation-Celera Genomics stock and Applera Corporation-Applied Biosystems stock.
March — Follow-on offering of Applera Corporation-Celera Genomics stock raises $944 million.
March —
Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly) sequence published by Celera and the Berkeley Drosophila Genome Project.
June — Celera announces completion of its first draft of the human genome.
November — Applera Corporation announces the appointment of Kathy Ordoñez to create a molecular diagnostics business.
February —
Publication of Celera's human genome paper in Science.
February — Celera announces grant from NIH to sequence the rat genome.
April — Celera completes first assembly of the mouse genome.
July — Applera Genomics Initiative, a $100 million project to identify and validate functional SNPs, is announced.
November —
Celera acquires Axys Pharmaceuticals, a small molecule drug discovery company.
January — Dr. J. Craig Venter steps down as President of Celera.
April — Kathy Ordoñez appointed President of Celera.
June — Celera begins evaluating findings from genetic association studies underway at Celera Diagnostics. These findings have the potential to identify new therapeutic targets and to provide insight into disease pathways and new approaches to clinical trial design.
July — With Abbott Laboratories, announced the formation of a strategic collaboration to discover, develop and commercialize therapies for the treatment of cancer. The collaboration encompasses the development of therapeutic antibodies and small molecule drugs.
Celera forms a strategic collaboration with Seattle Genetics to jointly discover and develop antibody-based therapies for cancer.
Celera receives a milestone payment from Merck recognizing Merck’s advancement of a Cathepsin K inhibitor into a Phase I clinical trial as a potential treatment for osteoporosis.
May — Celera Diagnostics identifies gene variants associated with risk for progressive liver disease - link between genetic predisposition and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
July — Abbott and Celera Diagnostics announced that Abbott received CE Mark certification for a real-time PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test for monitoring hepatitis C (HCV) viral load in patients, allowing the test to be marketed in the European Union. This test is not available or approved for use in the United States.
August — Novel findings linking genetic variations in four genes with an increased risk for myocardial infarction (MI), or heart attack.
September — Celera Genomics announced the initiation of Phase I clinical testing for its cathepsin S inhibitor, CRA-028129, for the treatment of psoriasis.
December — Celera Diagnostics announced the publication of data showing that a novel locus on Chromosome 10 correlates strongly with increased risk for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
January — Celera Genomics acquires full ownership of Celera Diagnostics joint venture, and announces that it will partner or sell small molecule drug development programs. Strategy to reduce cash burn substantially and accelerate move to profitability.
April — Three programs around small molecule drug candidates for the treatment of cancer and other diseases sold to Pharmacyclics, Inc. (Nasdaq:PCYC). These included programs that target histone deacetylase (HDAC) enzymes, selective HDAC enzymes, Factor VIIa, and B cell tyrosine kinases involved in immune function.
June — Celera and Medarex form a strategic collaboration to discover and develop fully human antibodies for the potential treatment of multiple cancer indications.
Celera and Specialty Laboratories sign an agreement granting Specialty a non-exclusive license to Celera’s risk markers for cirrhosis.
Schering AG acquires Celera’s cathepsin S inhibitor small molecule drug program for the treatment of autoimmune diseases.
August — Data published in Human Molecular Genetics on the death-associated protein kinase 1 (DAPK1) gene in late-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
October — Specialty Laboratories announced the commercial launch of its Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Liver Fibrosis GenotypR™ test, the first genomic clinical test to predict progression to liver fibrosis and cirrhosis in HCV patients based on Celera’s discoveries.
December — Data published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology around the identification of the FCAR genetic polymorphism associated with increased risk for myocardial infarction. The research study confirmed prior research findings of a genetic basis for individuals at elevated risk for heart attack who derive better than average protective benefits of statin treatment.
Celera Genomics Group changes its name to Celera Group.
January — Health Canada approves the Abbott m2000 instrument system and the Abbott RealTime™ HIV-1 and hepatitis C virus (HCV) viral load tests for marketing in Canada.
February — Findings published in the American Journal of Human Genetics that variants in two genes (IL12B and IL23R) involved in regulating the behavior of cells of the immune system independently contribute to psoriasis risk.
Data published in Human Molecular Genetics on two genes associated with late onset Alzheimer’s Disease.
Data presented at 24th annual Miami Breast Cancer Conference in Miami Beach, FL supporting Celera’s multi-gene expression prognostic constellation as a predictor of distant metastasis in Tamoxifen®-treated breast cancer patients.
April — Celera grants a license to LabCorp to Celera’s breast cancer metastasis and estrogen/progesterone receptor discoveries.
Celera publishes data validating Cirrhosis Risk Score as a predictor of cirrhosis in chronic hepatitis C infected patients.
May — HIV-1 viral load test approved by FDA for use on m2000 molecular diagnostics instrument.
June — Celera and collaborators discover a genetic marker associated with severe coronary artery disease.
August — Applera retains Morgan Stanley to explore potential corporate restructuring.
September — Celera enters oncology research collaboration with Merck to develop pharmacogenomic tests.
Celera and collaborators identify gene variants predicting susceptibility to, and severity of, rheumatoid arthritis.
October — Celera completes acquisitions of Berkeley HeartLab and Atria Genetics.
November — Celera and Ipsen enter collaboration to develop biomarker and pharmacogenomic tests for growth failure patients.
January — Celera publishes three papers in JACC demonstrating that carriers of KIF6 gene variant are at elevated risk of Coronary Heart Disease which is virtually eliminated by statin therapy.
March — Celera and Leiden University Medical Center discover genetic markers associated with Deep Vein Thrombosis.
May — Applera Corporation's Board of Directors formally approves proposed separation of its Celera business.
July — Celera separates from Applera with new independent board of directors and starts trading on Nasdaq
December — Celera and Abbott Revise Strategic Alliance from Profit Sharing to Worldwide Distribution and Royalty Agreements
April — Celera presents data prescribing an immunodiagnostic assay to detect lung cancer from blood serum
Celera licenses genetic markers from deCODE and Perlegen in cardiovascular and metabolic diseases
Celera presents results showing that carriers of an LPA gene variant are at elevated risk of CHD among non-users of aspirin, but not among aspirin users
August — Celera and Aurora enter collaboration for use of cardiovascular genetics
September — Celera and Medco enter research collaboration to evaluate effect of K1F6 testing on compliance with statin therapy in patients with cardiovascular disease
October — Berkeley Heartlab Enters into agreements with Proven Diagnostics and Geisinger Medical Center to provide testing for cardiovascular disease
March — Berkeley HeartLab Receives College of American Pathologists Accreditation
June — Celera announces CE mark for KIF 6 test
September — Celera issued United States Patent relating to KIF6 gene variant as a predictor of increased risk of myocardial infarction and reduction of such risk following statin therapy
Agreement with Abbott for distribution of CE-marked KIF6 test to identify patients at risk of coronary heart disease
January — Celera Files U.S. regulatory application for KIF6 genotyping assay
May — Quest Diagnostics Successfully Completes Acquisition of Celera