Yesterday, Life Technologies announced its intent to acquire Ion Torrent for $375 million in cash and stock and additional considerations of up to $350 million, as reported by our sister publications GenomeWeb Daily News and In Sequence. Today, the blogosphere is abuzz with speculations on the significance of this deal, and most significantly, what it could mean for the third-gen sequencing market going forward. Keith Robison at Omics! Omics! says he is "not shocked Ion Torrent was shopping itself. ... by linking with an established player Ion Torrent can access marketing channels — a talent they have displayed a serious handicap in." Robison says he is surprised, however, that Roche/454 wasn't the buyer, since the firm "seemed like a more obvious partner for Ion Torrent — very similar chemistries and a tie-up of that sort might have meant a very rapid extension of Ion Torrent read lengths," adding that "Roche should be quite nervous." Daniel MacArthur at Genetic Future opines that "this purchase represents a serious additional investment in sequencing from Life, on top of its ongoing research into an advanced 'third-generation' sequencing technology." MacArthur says, though, that "Illumina won't go down without a fight." Over at Pathogens: Genes and Genomes, Nick Loman says that Life Tech and Illumina "are now looking like elephants (or rhinos or hippos) — powerful, but slow and cumbersome," and refers to Roche as a "gazelle" that is "ailing."
Aug 18, 2010