California-based Pacific Biosciences offers sequencing systems to help scientists resolve genetically complex problems

The company’s technology is claimed to offer high accuracy, ultra-long reads, uniform coverage, and the ability to simultaneously detect epigenetic changes.

The boards of both companies have approved the agreement.

The acquisition will bring together accurate Short- and Long-Read Sequencing Technologies, accelerating scientific discovery and paving the path to a more perfect view of a genome.

The combination of Pacific Biosciences’ recent advances with its Sequel SMRT Technology and Illumina’s infrastructure is expected to expand biological discovery and clinical insight.

Long-read sequencing market opportunity is estimated to grow to $2.5bn by 2022.

The acquisition complements Illumina sequencing solutions with accurate long-read sequencing capabilities to answer complex genomic questions.

While Illumina’s accurate short-read sequencing platforms address many of the sequencing applications optimally, some applications such as de novo sequencing and sequencing of highly homologous regions of genomes, are addressed with accurate long-reads.

Through the acquisition of Pacific Biosciences, Illumina will be able to provide integrated workflows and novel innovations that bring together the best of both technologies for researchers.

Illumina president and CEO Francis deSouza said: “PacBio’s unmatched accuracy mirrors that of Illumina’s in short-read sequencing. Combining the two technologies positions us to reach more applications, accelerate the pace of genomic discovery and bolster our innovation engine which has been a hallmark of Illumina since our inception.

“PacBio’s relentless pursuit to improve sequencing accuracy, while driving down the cost, underscores the potential of long-reads to expand sequencing to new customers and applications.”

The Illumina-Pacific Biosciences transaction is subject to approval by the shareholders of Pacific Biosciences, and other customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.

Illumina expects to close the transaction in mid-2019.

Goldman Sachs has been appointed as financial advisor and Covington & Burling as legal advisor to Illumina.

Centerview Partners has been appointed as financial advisor and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati as legal advisor to Pacific Biosciences.

Pacific Biosciences CEO Michael Hunkapiller said: “Illumina continues to democratize the use of sequencing at an unprecedented rate. Through this combination, thousands of researchers will now have direct access to this technology.”