Gen-Probe Inc and Pacific Biosciences announce that Gen-Probe has made a $50 million strategic investment in Pacific Biosciences, a private sequencing company.

In addition, the companies will work together to explore co-development of new integrated clinical diagnostics systems based on Pacific Biosciences’ Single Molecule Real Time (SMRT™) platform and Gen-Probe’s expertise in diagnostics.

Gen-Probe and Pacific Biosciences will initially collaborate on an exclusive basis for up to 30 months, with the goal of developing a longer-term, preferred business relationship aimed toward improving the diagnosis of human diseases. The companies can also purchase certain of each others’ products on preferential terms.

"We believe Pacific Biosciences’ third-generation, single-molecule sequencing technology has the potential to play an important long-term role in strategically valuable, high-growth clinical diagnostics markets such as oncology, transplant diagnostics and pharmacogenomics due to its fast time to result, long read lengths, and ability to interrogate broad genomic regions in high resolution," said Carl Hull, Gen-Probe’s president and chief executive officer. "We are excited to collaborate with Pacific Biosciences to develop an innovative sequencing system based on their best-in-class technologies."

Pacific Biosciences’ SMRT DNA sequencing is expected to be a transformative technology that enables a new paradigm in genomic analysis. It enables, for the first time, the observation of natural DNA synthesis by a DNA polymerase as it occurs. The approach is based on eavesdropping on a single DNA polymerase molecule working in a continuous, processive manner.

"We see a significant opportunity for our SMRT platform in the molecular diagnostics market and are taking a proactive and strategic approach by collaborating with Gen-Probe, a proven leader in developing fully automated instrument systems for nucleic acid testing," said Hugh Martin, chairman and chief executive officer of Pacific Biosciences. "We believe Gen-Probe’s expertise in instrument systems engineering and sample preparation, combined with their capabilities in clinical and regulatory affairs, will help us maximize the potential of our sequencing technology to benefit human health."
Source: Gen Probe and Pacific Biosciences