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7 January, 2020 - 20:22 By Tony Quested

Illumina paying Pacific Biosciences $98m after duo scrap merger plan

Genomics giant Illumina, which is expanding its Cambridge UK operations, has agreed to call off a proposed $1.2 billion cash takeover of fellow Californian business Pacific Biosciences.

The companies shook hands on a potential merger in November 2018 but have been frustrated by a failure to date to win regulatory approval.Illumina issued a statement today saying it would honour a merger agreement pledge to pay Pacific a $98m termination fee.

The statement read: “Considering the lengthy regulatory approval process the transaction has already been subject to and 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, went into greater detail. He 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.”

Pacific CEO Michael Hunkapiller, added: “We are disappointed that our customers and other stakeholders will not realise 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 utilised in an ever-expanding number of applications.”

Photograph by CDBeckwith/Wikipedia

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