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GEN News Highlights : Oct 27, 2010

Pacific Biosciences Looks to Raise $200M through $16 per Share IPO

Next-gen sequencing firm claims SMRT technology can observe DNA synthesis in real time.

Next-gen sequencing firm Pacific Biosciences has priced its initial public offering (IPO) of 12,500,000 shares of common stock at $16 per share. The firm, which is going public today, has in addition offered its underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to 1,875,000 shares at the IPO price, to cover any overallotments.

Pacific will trade on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol PACB. The firm has raised some $375 million to date through a combination of grants and venture capital.

Pacific is developing DNA and RNA analysis technologies based on its single-molecule, real-time (SMRT) technology. This is designed to enable the real-time analysis of biomolecules at the single-molecule resolution, by observing DNA synthesis as it occurs in real time. Initially focused on the DNA sequencing market, Pacific’s flagship product is the PacBio RS platform.

SMRT technology reportedly retains many of the key attributes of currently available sequencing technologies while solving a number of limitations that are inherent in other existing platforms. The overall system comprises an instrument platform that uses dedicated consumables including a proprietary SMRT Cell. It is designed to be integrated into existing laboratory workflows and information systems, is easy to use, generates long read lengths, is flexible in terms of experimental design, and generate results quickly, Pacific claims. Moreover, in contrast with existing sequencing platforms the PacBio RS system requires minimal amounts of reagent and sample preparation, and does not require routine PCR amplification. There are in addition no flushing, scanning, and washing steps required.

In August the firm confirmed that the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute had become its first European customer. The Institute purchased a PacBio RS third-generation sequencing system as part of the company’s early access program. Earlier in the year the first 10 north American customers for the system were announced.