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Illumina’s $1.2bn acquisition of Pacific Biosciences called off




Illumina’s $1.2billion acquisition of fellow sequencing firm Pacific Biosciences has been cancelled.

The companies were frustrated by the length of time taken to secure regulatory approval.

Celebrating Illumina’s 21st Anniversary at the new EMEA HQ, illumina Cambridge Ltd. 19 Granta Park, Great Abington Cambridge, Francis deSouza, Chief Executive Officer, Illumina. Picture: Keith Heppell. (26409522)
Celebrating Illumina’s 21st Anniversary at the new EMEA HQ, illumina Cambridge Ltd. 19 Granta Park, Great Abington Cambridge, Francis deSouza, Chief Executive Officer, Illumina. Picture: Keith Heppell. (26409522)

Illumina, which has new EMEA premises at Granta Park, will pay a termination fee of $98million to Pacific Biosciences, as set out in the merger agreement.

In a statement, the California-based companies said that amid “continued uncertainty of the ultimate outcome, the parties decided that terminating the agreement is in the best interest of their respective shareholders and employees”.

Francis deSouza, president and CEO of Illumina, said: “We believe this proposed combination would have broadened access to Pacific Biosciences sequencing technology, significantly expanded and accelerated innovation, and ultimately increased the clinical utility and impact of sequencing.

“I’d like to thank our employees, as well as the Pacific Biosciences team, for their unwavering dedication and commitment throughout this process. Moving forward, we will continue to look for ways to increase the impact and benefit of sequencing technologies for researchers, clinicians, and most importantly, patients.”

The all-cash transaction was originally agreedon November 1, 2018.

Celebrating Illumina’s 21st Anniversary at the new EMEA HQ, illumina Cambridge Ltd. 19 Granta Park, Great Abington Cambridge, . Picture: Keith Heppell. (26409513)
Celebrating Illumina’s 21st Anniversary at the new EMEA HQ, illumina Cambridge Ltd. 19 Granta Park, Great Abington Cambridge, . Picture: Keith Heppell. (26409513)

Dr Michael Hunkapiller, CEO of Pacific Biosciences, said: “We are disappointed that our customers and other stakeholders will not realize the powerful advantages of integrating the sequencing capabilities of our two companies.

“With that said, we are confident in the future of Pacific Biosciences as we continue to pursue improved sequencing accuracy and throughput that can be utilized in an ever-expanding number of applications.”

Pacific Biosciences uses novel Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT) technology to enable de novo genome assembly to finish genomes, to identify, annotate and decipher genomic structures more fully. It offers full-length transcript analysis, targeted sequencing to characterise genetic variations and offers real-time kinetic information for epigenome characterisation.

Illumina, which marked its 21st anniversary last year, is a global leader in DNA sequencing and array-based technologies. It took over Solexa, the University of Cambridge spin-out that commercialised the chemistry of sequencing by synthesis.


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