A Brief Look at 2012 Acquisitions; Illumina, Life Technologies, and 23andMe

What a difference a year makes for Illumina. Unlike last year, Illumina has started this year on a strong foot; Roche chief says Illumina is not a must have, but nice to have and Illumina announces the acquisition of Verinata Health, a non-invasive prenatal testing company.

A Brief Look at 2012 Acquisitions; Illumina, Life Technologies, and 23andMe

A Brief Look at 2012 Acquisitions; Illumina, Life Technologies, and 23andMe

The year 2012 was a busy year for many personal genetics and Next-Gen sequencing technology companies.   A quite a few companies have changed hands (or about to), and in turn completely changing the landscape of the market.  The major theme of this year’s acquisition is that almost all major players wanted to move towards personal genetics for disease diagnostics and personal genetics guided treatment.

Next-Gen sequencing companies, like Illumina and Life Technologies, are keen to put their bench-top sequencers in clinical diagnostics; BGI wants more share of clinical genome sequencing; and 23andMe wants to combine their wealth of genotype data with relevant phenotype data.

Here is a brief look at the acquisitions involving the major Next-Gen Sequencing/Personal Genetics Companies – Illumina, Life Technologies, BGI, Navigenics, deCODE and 23andMe – in 2012.

Illumina: A Big Fight to Avoid Being Acquired, a Fight to Block an Acquisition, and a Small Acquisition

Illumina has been busy in all accounts. In the market, Illumina is marching ahead as the sequencing technology leader and is looking to expand by acquiring small companies that are relevant for diagnostics.  And Illumina is also involved in trying hard to block BGI’s acquisition of COmplete Genomics to prevent BGI gaining some hold and in a big fight to wade off the hostile bid to avoid being acquired by the pharma giant Roche.

Roche-Illumina; The Acquisition That Did Not Happen (yet?)

One of the biggest acquisition stories of 2012 is the unsuccessful acquisition effort by Roche to acquire Illumina.  For Illumina, the year 2012 began with Roche’s hostile bid to take over Illumina for $5.7 billion. Although, Illumina immediately rejected Roche’s acquisition bid, Roche being Roche played a waiting game and kept coming back at Illumina with multi-prong approaches to acquire Illumina. Roche tried increasing its bid and tried to scare off Illumina shareholders.

Finally, it took a really long time for Roche to back off from its acquisition bid.  However, it looks like Roche has not totally lost its interest in aquiring Illumina. Even just a few weeks ago, there were rumors that Roche is renewing its offer to acquire Illumina. And just last week Roche chairman ruled out Illumina acquisition in a an interview to a Swiss news paper.  One never knows what can happen in 2013.  Here is a brief time line of Illumina-Roche acquisition fight.

  1. Illumina Responds to Roche’s Hostile $5.7B Offer to Take Over Illumina
  2. Illumina Rejects Roche’s Hostile Take Over Bid
  3. Roche Is Disappointed at Illumina’s Rejection, But Does Not Back Off
  4. Roche Increases the Offer Price of Illumina
  5. Roche Paints a Gloomy Picture of Illumina and Reaches to Illumina Share Holders
  6. Roche Backs Off From Illumina Acquisition Effort

Illumina – Complete Genomics – BGI

In another fight, Illumina is fighting to block the acquisition of Complete Genomics by BGI on the basis of privacy and national security. But this fight is not a success story as the Federal govt gave green signal for the acquisition.<

Illumina’s interest in Complete Genomics seems to be show little muddled thinking from Illumina.  According to Complete Genomics, Illumina talked with Complete Genomics and gave a  proposal to acquire Complete Genomics in June 2012 and withdrew its proposal in late August 2012.  However, bizarrely  a few weeks after BGI announced its merger with Complete Genomics, Illumina made a (anonymous) unsolicited a bid to acquire it.

Complete Genomics rejected the bid on the basis that an acquisition by Illumina will attract FTC’s attention for anti-competition. Illumina did not stop, but went on to raise privacy/national security issues and wanted to block the acquisition of Complete Genomics by BGI.

On a smaller scale, Illumina acquired UK based BlueGnome, showing its clear intention to get into personal genetic space. BluGenome has developed technologies to test for genetic abnormalities and its product CytoChip is used in over 40 countries.

Life Technologies Move Towards Personal Genomics

With three acquisitions; one big and two small, Life Technologies clearly showed its intentions in personal disease genetics/genomics. First Life Technologies acquired Navigenics, one of the early personal genetics companies.  Acquiring Navigenics, Life technologies claimed it is the only company that has the “breadth of technology to span the full continuum of diagnostic information necessary” to manage complex diseases like cancer. And it also hopes that Navigenics’ informatics platform will help to transform its data into something meaningful for physicians in real time.

Moving quickly, Lief Technologies made two more acquisitions to position itself well in disesase diagnostics using personal genomics. Within a week after acquiring Navigenics, Life Technologies acquired Pinpoint Genomics for its CLIA-Approved Lung Cancer Test for detecting early stage Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. And later Life Technologies pocketed Compendia Bioscience, a Michigan based cancer bioinformatics company.

23andMe Stands Tall in Direct to Consumer Personal Genetic Market

It has been an interesting year for 23andMe; the growth of 23andMe customer database and the fall of 23andMe’s direct competitors has made the year 2012 very successful one for 23andMe. Already the largest human genetic database,  23andMe aims to expand even bigger and wants to reach a million customers and it wants to expand its disease specific phenotype database.  Along the way 23andMe made its first acquisition, CureTogether. CureTogether, as the name suggest, is a patient-sourced company founded with the aim of making it easy to share the collective treatment benefits for medical conditions to everyone.

The two acquisitions it did not make, but others did made it interesting for 23andMe.  The two major players in personal genetic testing, Navigenics and deCODE got acquired this year – Navigenics got acquired by Life Technologies  and deCODE was acquired by Amgen for a whopping $415 million. Already Navigenics closed down its personal genetic service and every one expects that deCODE will follow the suit soon.  The two acquisitions have made 23andMe as the sole leader in Direct to Consumer genetic test space. In the future, it just needs to put to use of its data to do something cool.

  1. 23andMe Acquires CureTogether
  2. Amgen to Acquire deCODE Genetics for $415 Million




  1. […] A Brief Look at 2012 Acquisitions; Illumina, Life Technologies, and 23andMe […]

  2. […] billions (and later it went up to $6.5 billions). The long-winding hostile effort ended after Illumina kept rejecting Roche’s acquisition bids. […]

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