In November, sequencing powerhouses Illumina Inc, San Diego, and Pacific Biosciences, Menlo Park, Calif, announced an agreement for Illumina to acquire Pacific Biosciences at a price of $8.00 per share, in an all-cash transaction.

The price represents a premium of 71% to Pacific Biosciences’ 30-day average share price, and a total enterprise value of approximately $1.2 billion on a fully diluted basis.

The acquisition complements Illumina sequencing solutions with accurate long-read sequencing capabilities to answer a set of complex genomic questions. While Illumina’s accurate and economic short-read sequencing platforms address the majority of sequencing applications optimally, select applications—such as de novo sequencing and sequencing of highly homologous regions of genomes—are better addressed with accurate long-reads.


Francis deSouza, Illumina.

The agreement has been approved by the boards of directors of Illumina and Pacific Biosciences. With its acquisition of Pacific Biosciences, Illumina will be positioned to provide integrated workflows and innovations that bring together the best of both technologies, helping researchers to advance their discoveries faster, and enabling clinicians to offer new tests economically.

“PacBio’s unmatched accuracy mirrors that of Illumina’s in short-read sequencing. Combining the two technologies positions us to reach more applications, accelerate the pace of genomic discovery and bolster our innovation engine, which has been a hallmark of Illumina since our inception,” says Francis deSouza, president and chief executive officer of Illumina. “PacBio’s relentless pursuit to improve sequencing accuracy, while driving down the cost, underscores the potential of long-reads to expand sequencing to new customers and applications.”


Michael Hunkapiller, PhD, Pacific Biosciences.

“Illumina continues to democratize the use of sequencing at an unprecedented rate. Through this combination, thousands of researchers will now have direct access to this technology,” says Michael Hunkapiller, PhD, chief executive officer of Pacific Biosciences. “Illumina and Pacific Biosciences have shared values and a commitment to innovation. Our complementary sequencing technology, once integrated, will offer customers a new standard of insight and understanding, opening new frontiers of genomic utility.”

The transaction is subject to approval by the shareholders of Pacific Biosciences, as well as other customary closing conditions, including applicable regulatory approvals. Illumina expects to close the transaction in mid-2019.

More information is available at Pacific Biosciences and Illumina.

Featured image: Close-up of single-molecule, real-time (SMRT) cells in the Sequel system by Pacific Biosciences.