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Roche Terminates Dx Technology Development Agreement With Pacific Biosciences

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Roche has ended its development, commercialization, and licensing agreement with Pacific Biosciences, according to documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The termination will go into effect on Feb. 10, 2017.

The announcement of the termination hit PacBio's stock hard, sending the firm's shares down 40 percent to $4.11 in late Thursday morning trade on the Nasdaq.

In 2013, PacBio struck a $75 million agreement with Roche to develop a sequencing system based on its single-molecule sequencing technology for diagnostics purposes.

Last year, PacBio launched its Sequel system for the research market, which Roche planned to further develop and launch for the clinical market.

In a statement, PacBio CEO Mike Hunkapiller said that although the company was disappointed with Roche's decision to terminate the agreement, it will not "significantly change our plans for expanding our business to address" the clinical market.

"We are prepared to immediately pursue opportunities in the clinical research and sequencing market which do not require the supply of assay-specific kits and we have already seen interest from customers in this space, which we believe currently represents the majority of this market," Hunkapiller added. "The quality framework we have developed while working with Roche and our existing ISO 13485 and ISO 9001 certifications position us well to address this market."

Roche also acquired nanopore sequencing company Genia in 2014, which published a proof-of-principle study of its technology earlier this year.