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Gen-Probe Invests $50M into Pacific Biosciences

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Gen-Probe announced after the close of the market on Thursday that it has made a $50 million investment into sequencing firm Pacific Biosciences.

The Gen-Probe investment is part of a larger Series F private round of financing by PacBio, who is not disclosing the total amount for the round. As a result of the investment, Gen-Probe owns a 7 percent stake in PacBio.

Gen-Probe and PacBio will also explore co-development of new integrated diagnostic systems based on PacBio's Single Molecule Real Time platform and Gen-Probe's diagnostics expertise, the two firms said in a statement.

The companies will initially collaborate on an exclusive basis for 30 months and intend to develop "a longer-term, preferred business relationship aimed toward improving the diagnosis of human diseases," the firms said. They will also be able to buy certain of each others products at discounted rates.

PacBio's SMRT technology is based on "eavesdropping on a single DNA polymerase molecule working in a continuous, processive manner," and enables, for the first time, observation of natural DNA synthesis by a DNA polymerase as it occurs, the firms said.

"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," Gen-Probe President and CEO Carl Hull said.

PacBio expects to commercially launch its platform for research applications later this year.

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