Tuesday, July 20, 2021

PacBio Enters a Binding Agreement to Acquire Omniome

Pacific Biosciences announced today that they are slurping up short read sequencer startup Omniome for around $800M.  Omniome has been developing an interesting clonal read technology.  On the conflict-of-interest side, many years ago (and I think an entire management team different) Omniome treated myself and my family to a weekend in San Diego (it was my son's birthday weekend) so I could look at their technology back then -- my NDA has expired but so has most of my memory of what I saw at that meeting!  Also the periodic reminder that PacBio Christian Henry sits on the board of my employer, though we haven't met. Simon Barnett of ARK Investments (which is a major holder of PacBio stock) has a very nice explainer on the Omniome Sequencing-By-Binding (SBB) chemistry and his bullish perspective on the acquisition and there is a proof-of-concept publication of the technology. I'll briefly explain the tech and then outline my somewhat more bearish view. It's also interesting to note that the FTC's actions on Illumina-PacBio and Illumina-Grail have analysts jumpy about this acquisition attempt.