Thursday, December 26, 2019

Long Overdue and Overly Short Notes on Clive's NCM 2019 Talk

A theme of the 2019 Nanopore Community Meeting in New York was the long and short of nanopore sequencing.  While the public sparring with Illumina/PacBio over the definitions of sequencing types wasn't explicitly discussed, certainly ONT wants to make sure that people understand they don't intend to ignore applications that are naturally short reads.  I've been slowly trying to get this summary to gel for awhile, with the usual distractions this time of year of some trips, planning for holidays and a bout with a virus.  Plus general procrastination. 

I'm just going to cover Clive's talk; there were some really spectacular presentations (including one by someone who remarked that they hoped their upcoming thesis committee meeting would go well! One of multiple excellent platform talks by very junior scientists) If you'd like to watch yourself, the video of Clive's talk is online. Watching it again is kind of fun, except for the distraction of seeing a guy with huge glasses trying to live tweet from the front row.  I've put in brackets rough timepoints for some of the topics; you may need to slide back or forth a bit to nail it exactly but they can land you near the right spot.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Merger Questions to Mull Over Your Cider

With the full FTC complaint against the Illumina-PacBio merger now out in the open but the holiday break bearing down like a reindeer on steroids, I want to leave you with a few questions to ponder over your wassail.  Because what holiday gathering is not enlightened by discussion on the Herfindahl-Hirschmann Index (HHI)?

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

FTC Slams Illumina-PacBio Merger, but Illumina Not Quitting Yet

Tonight I was intending to finally get out my summary of technical notes from the Oxford Nanopore Community Meeting, but yesterday the U.S. Federal Trade Commission issued a press release that they believe the proposed acquisition of Pacific Biosciences by Illumina would be grossly anticompetitive and cannot be approved in any form.  A more detailed report is promised but hasn't surfaced yet.  Curiously, not only did this ultimately move PacBio's stock very little, but today Illumina and Pacific Biosciences filed matching SEC documents that Illumina will continue to infuse cash into PacBio through March of next year.  Also, I should note that someone left a passionate defense of regulators in the comments on a prior piece, noting that the FTC decision shows that the CMA was justified in opposing the deal and not simply acting with a parochial eye on Oxford Nanopore.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Is ONT Really Going to Twist the Watch Stem Backwards?

I was in New York last week for the Nanopore Community Meeting.  I'll save some technical updates for tomorrow, for I wanted to focus today on a huge inflection point that Oxford Nanopore announced that they will really will punch through next year.  I'm going to do that with an extended comparison to Robert Bloch's wonderful short story That Hellbound Train.  I won't spoil that story, but if you want to first go find a copy to read (there is apparently now a graphic novel version) or spend a half hour on a decent narration of it, please do.  It's especially a joy if you're steeped in the lore of American railroading.