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Roche's NimbleGen Closure, Ill-Fated Bid for Illumina Top BioArray News Stories in 2012


Though 2012 was arguably a good year for companies that develop and sell microarrays, with experts advocating their use as a first-tier test for invasive prenatal diagnostics and several organizations relying on arrays to support new genetic genealogy offerings, the news event that garnered the most interest among BioArray News readers in the past twelve months occurred in early June, when Roche decided to shutter most of the activities of its Madison, Wis.-based NimbleGen array business.

Half of the 10 most-read stories of the year concerned the Roche NimbleGen exit, with the number one most widely read story concerning Roche's immediate plans to quit the market, lay off the majority of its staff, and close its European facilities. Other popular stories discussed customers' responses to Roche's decision; other vendors' public statements about their plans to continue serving array customers; and discussion of Roche's plans to introduce a high-density peptide array platform.

Roche's failed bid to acquire Illumina was the focus of two other top-10 stories last year. The second most widely read article of the year discussed Illumina customers' apprehension about a possible Roche takeover, while another top-10 story discussed how Roche's planned acquisition of Illumina would mean further consolidation of the array market. That story, which appeared in January, noted that should Roche make good on its plans to buy Illumina, there would only be three major providers of arrays by the end of the year. As it turned out, there were only three large vendors left at the end of the year, but that was due to Roche's own exit from the market.

Readers did show interest in positive developments, though. The news that would use Illumina BeadChips as the technology platform for its AncestryDNA genetic genealogy service was the sixth most widely read BioArray News story of the year. And a story that concerned arguably the best selling arrays of 2012, and perhaps of all time — Illumina's menu of exome chips — also interested readers enough to merit its inclusion in the top 10. In fact, Illumina's exome arrays performed so well during the year that executives told investors last month to expect more array products with exome content in 2013 (BAN 12/4/2012).

The following is a list of the 10 most-read BAN stories of the year.

1. Roche NimbleGen to Quit Array Market, Lay off Majority of Staff, Close European Facilities

2. Illumina Array Customers 'Apprehensive' of Possible Roche Takeover, Fear Platform 'Stagnation'

3. Roche Executive Says Firm is Seeking Buyer for NimbleGen Array Business

4. Roche's Proposed Acquisition of Illumina Would Mean Further Consolidation of Array Market

5. Affy, Agilent, Illumina Affirm Commitment to Array Market in Light of Roche's Planned Exit

6. Debuts DNA Testing Service for Family History Research on Illumina Array Platform

7. Illumina Says It 'Dramatically Underestimated' Exome Chip Demand, Claims 80 Percent Share of Array Market

8. With Future of Roche NimbleGen Arrays in Question, Customers Bet on New Platforms

9. With SNP Content on the Rise for Cytogenetics, Do CGH Arrays Have a Future?

10. Roche to Phase out Chip-Based Sequence Capture; Peptide Arrays 'Close' to Commercialization