Thursday, October 24, 2019

CMA Drops the (Preliminary) Hammer on ILMN-PacBio

Today the United Kingdom's Competition and Merger Authority (CMA) issued their preliminary report on the proposed acquisition of Pacific Biosciences by Illumina.  The report has no dry British phrasing: they clearly state that the merger is anticompetitive and that the only legal remedy is to block the transaction.  Interestingly, today was also the scheduled Illumina Q3 earnings call, but the subject wasn't even broached there.

Monday, October 21, 2019

QIAGEN Quashes GeneReader

Two weeks ago QIAGEN announced they will discontinue development of their GeneReader short read instrument and move their portfolio of gene panel tests over to the Illumina MiSeq and NextSeq. Existing instrument owners will continue to be supported for an indefinite period.  Thus ends QIAGEN's effort to build a fully vertically integrated sample-to-answer diagnostic sequencing system, just short of 4 years from the system's launch. What can be learned from this and how does this reshape the sequencing market?

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Illumina Throws PacBio An Extension and a Lifeline

Interesting news today on the PacBio front: as reported by GenomeWeb, Illumina announced that their walkaway date for the acquisition has been extended to March 31 of next year and that Illumina will be pumping significant cash into PacBio until either the merger occurs or is terminated.  In addition to publicly reinforcing Illumina's determination to get the deal done, the terms of the arrangement have interesting consequences should the deal fall through

Where U.K.'s CMA Missed the Plot

I've written far more than I expected to on the PacBio merger, with it dominating my output here this summer save that recent dip in the CCS boomerangs.  We still haven't heard from the U.S. FTC, which is the big hammer that could drop and the stock is still selling at a substantial discount to the price offered by Illumina.  While I've hinted at it, I've never quite detailed my major objection to the form of the UK CMA's analysis of the proposed acquisition.  I've missed the opportunity to lay that out during the period of public comment for the next round of the CMA.  Still, worth it to write it down.  Which was true about a month ago when I wrote this, then failed to actually push it to a post before I headed out for a rugged vacation in the American West.  And then forgot about it after returning.  And more news today to comment on -- so better finally get this out there.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Amazon Needs Another Training Track

I spent a day recently taking Amazon's "AWS Technical Essentials" course.  I had originally opted not to go, but a summons went out that we had already paid for seats and that everyone using AWS should really go.  I've been in far worse courses and certainly had no complaints with our instructor, a former mechanical engineer who knew his stuff and was never in salesman mode.  Indeed, many of the tips I extracted had to do with how to save money.  No, the problem is that the course is designed for a very, very different use case than anyone in my shoes is interested in.  It's a use case that I'm sure Amazon has a few bazillion customers for, but I'm just not one of them.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Mirror, Mirror Have You Leads, On My Strange HiFi Reads?

A core purpose of this space is to explore the current state of genomics technology.  Much of the time this is via distilling news reports, press releases and interviews with persons in the field.  But even more fun is to dive into actual data.  Such data is often accessed via the generosity of researchers who deposit open access datasets.  But it is also true that part of my professional responsibilities is to determine when new technologies and methods have applications at my day job, so I'm also charged in the day job with contemplating experiments to plumb sequencing systems.  Only by doing so can we ensure that we maximize our ability to perform cutting-edge synthetic biology.  A recent such experiment generated some curious data which I have obtained permission to share a subset of it publicly, as I'm scratching my head and hope that someone out in the community has insight.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Wall Street Bets Illumina Won't Acquire PacBio

The proposed PacBio-ILMN Merger remains an interesting spectator sport, with the UK's CMA looking for public input for the next round.  I don't usually pay attention to stock prices, but PacBio's current state presents too juicy a situations.  Just to be clear though: I do not hold any individual stock position in PacBio or Illumina (the bulk of my investing is in broad mutual funds, some of which certainly have bits of these companies).

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

UK CMA & ILMN/PACB: The Inconvenience of Being Earnest.

As part two of a yet-to-be-determined number of pieces on the UK's CMA preliminary analysis of the proposed Pacific Biosciences acquisition by Illumina, I'd like to briefly explore the surprising authority of this agency to plumb internal documents at the two companies.