Formed in 1996, biotechnology company deCODE genetics, Inc. (DCGN) focuses on identifying the genetic causes of common diseases such as asthma, hypertension, and stroke, and accordingly engages in developing drugs for the treatment of these diseases. The company is using population genetics (genetic changes that happen to a population over time) to create a new paradigm for healthcare. With its uniquely comprehensive population data, deCODE is turning research on the genetic causes of common diseases into a growing range of products and services in pharmaceuticals, gene and drug discovery, DNA-based diagnostics, pharmacogenomics, bioinformatics, and clinical trials. The company has both Drug Discovery and Contract Research operations. Encode, the company's contract research organization (CRO) incorporates pharmacogenomic data to design "information rich" clinical trials. The company uses biomarkers to identify patients for optimal efficacy and drug response. Encode also develops potential pharmacogenomic (DNA) tests to be used in tandem with the drug. Encode customers include Merck, Wyeth, Pfizer, and Vertex Pharmaceuticals. The drug discovery division has both clinical and preclinical stage candidates, as well as an alliance with Roche Diagnostics. The company is based in Reykjavik, Iceland, and employs more than 400 people.