05 November 2018
George Coe By George Coe

Illumina to buy Pacific Biosciences - Less Competition than ever in NGS?

Just over a year ago, I wrote this article. It was all about the companies who I thought were attempting to compete with, Illumina in the NGS market. Safe to say that last Friday’s announcement that Illumina are acquiring Pacific Biosciences means that their position is more consolidated than ever.

The acquisition will likely fill any gaps in their extensive portfolio as PB’s long read technology is complementary to their current offering. In my article last year I spoke about the important of competition and with today’s news that looks as though it’s become a more pressing issue than ever.

So when it comes to competition for $45B Illumina, who’s left?

The Non-Movers

A year isn’t a long time in business. So it’s not a surprise that some of the companies I mentioned last year haven’t made huge amounts of progress. Both Nabsys and the Roche/ Genia collaboration haven’t posted any major updates about their platforms hitting the market.

Making Waves

Genapsys haven’t made any recent announcements about their progress but have been recruiting heavily. They could well be close to bringing something to market.

As always in NGS there’s been some fascinating start ups marching onto the scene and making headway. San Francisco start-up Quantapore raised $15.6M fundraising for their efforts to bring another type of nanopore sequencing system to the market. They could really be ones to watch over the next couple of years.

In the North West US Stratos Genomics are another company to keep a close eye on after raising another $20M in January this year. Their CEO Mark Kokoris recently said:

“Our recent development breakthroughs put us in position to evaluate a number of strategic options and open discussions with partners who share our vision”

We don’t know too many details about the progress Stratos are making with their technology, but with their recently released pictures, we know it at least looks great. And with that amount of capital behind them, I’m sure the platform will back it up.


Omniome are another company making waves. In July they received a whopping $60M lead by Chinese investors in the development of their own sequencing platform. They’ve backed this funding up with a big hiring drive so can’t be far away from making a big impact on the market.

UK-based Oxford Nanopore is now valued at £1.5bn, so they’re one of the few businesses left with a 8-figure turnover aside from Illumina. They’ve raised another £100M in investment from the APAC region which will enable them to execute some serious growth plans. It still remains to be seen if Illumina’s market share will suffer though – or if they could even be the next acquisition target.

Lastly, a mention for DNA Electronic who are led by NGS pioneer Nick McCook. His know-how is assisting their introduction of a new NGS system which, they say, is going to change the way we provide diagnostics. I’ve seen them growing their R&D and commercial teams of late too – another sure sign that they aren’t too far away from infiltrating an exciting niche market.

Looking Ahead

It remains to be seen what impact the Illumina/ PB acquisition will have on the wider market, but it’s already sending shock waves. With the move sure to swell Illumina’s immense profits even further it will have many others asking questions about the NGS landscape in 2019 and what it means for their business.

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George Coe

George Coe works across genomics and cellular biology, partnering with companies and candidates who are at the very forefront of research today. He is fascinated by the way in which genomics is going to affect our everyday lives and the growing regulations surrounding the technology.


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