Roche Seeks Sequencing Strategy

Roche’s failed 2012 attempt to acquire Illumina for $6.7 billion has not stopped the global leader in clinical diagnostics from its intent to be a player in the high growth “nex-gen” sequencing market. Several recent moves by this diagnostics leader provide insight into Roche’s sequencing strategy.

[protected]This week, the company announced that it will close its 454 Life Sciences sequencing business based in Branford, CT. The plan to close the facility will result in approximately 100 employee layoffs as it phases out the 454 sequencer, reagents and consumables by 2016. This move was made in response to 454’s shrinking competitive position, as sequencing products from Illumina (MiSeq) and Life Technologies’ (Ion Torrent) pushed the 454 system to irrelevance.

The decision to wind down the 454 Life Science operations is not the first such move by Roche. Earlier this year, the company announced that it ended deals with IBM and DNA Electronics that began in 2010 designed to commercialize semiconductor and nanopore sequencing technologies.

But clearly Roche is not turning its back on the sequencing market. It recently formed a $75 million dollar partnership with high throughput sequencing company Pacific Biosciences. Roche believes that Pacific Biosciences’ SMRT sequencing technology will enable it to deliver a sequencing product array for multiple market segments. As important, there are several sequencing companies out that could be potential acquisition candidates for Roche.

For more information on the sequencing market, the companies mentioned above and the $52 billion dollar global clinical diagnostics market, please contact your Atheneum Partners representative and schedule an individual consult today.[/protected]

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Ken Powell

About Ken Powell

Ken Powell is the President of Genesis Business Development, a global health care consultancy. Mr. Powell has experience in the identification, acquisition, and commercialization of intellectual property, new businesses, and products in the clinical diagnostics, life sciences and medical device market segments. He has knowledge about emerging technologies, industry consolidation, personalized medicine, molecular diagnostics, hospital, commercial reference and physician labs, clinical lab systems, point-of-care, genomics, proteomics, life sciences, lab distributors and medical devices. He has provided Expert Witness testimony in an international lawsuit at the Royal Court of High Justice, London, England. Mr. Powell is also knowledgeable about evolving clinical diagnostic regulatory (FDA, CLIA, Congressional) and reimbursement issues. He has held senior management positions with Becton Dickinson, Roche Diagnostics, Technicon (Revlon Healthcare), Armour Pharmaceuticals, and Upjohn Clinical Laboratory Procedures. Mr. Powell is conversant in all aspects of clinical diagnostics, life sciences segments, current and emerging companies and select medical device segments. He has provided Expert Witness testimony in an international lawsuit involving infectious disease diagnostic technologies at the Royal Court of Justice in London, England.