Introducing “Close to the Edge”: A Zoom Conversation with PacBio CEO Christian Henry

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We are pleased to add another new dimension to GEN Edge with the debut of “Close to the Edge”—a video talk show in which we interview CEOs and key leaders from groundbreaking biotech and pharma companies, talking about their science, technology, pipelines and business.

Hosting the show with me is Alex Philippidis, GEN’s senior business editor and a leading contributor to GEN Edge.

Our inaugural episode features a lively discussion with Christian Henry, the president and CEO of Pacific Biosciences, or PacBio—one of the leading companies in the genome sequencing arena.

During our interview, Henry talks about the experience gained working with Jay Flatley and colleagues at Illumina for 12 years, as well as the challenge of succeeding another genomics legend, Mike Hunkapiller, as CEO of PacBio. Naturally, we asked Henry about the reverberations from the proposed merger with Illumina, which was called off last year.

Henry discussed PacBio’s strengths in long-read sequencing, and its relationship with another company gaining ground in the next-generation sequencing space, Oxford Nanopore. He discusses the strengths of PacBio’s SMRT (single molecule, real time) platform and the opportunities to move into new markets, especially the clinic—as evidenced by PacBio’s partnership with InVitae.

Henry joined PacBio in 2017 from Illumina, where he served in a number of different roles—including Chief Financial Officer, chief commercial officer and general manager of the Life Sciences Business. Before Illumina, Henry was chief financial officer for, a publicly traded online ticket provider later acquired by Major League Baseball Advanced Media, LP.

He also served as vice president of Finance and corporate controller for Affymetrix, Inc., and held a similar position at Nektar Therapeutics (formerly Inhale Therapeutic Systems). Henry earned a BA in biochemistry and cell biology from the University of California, San Diego, and an MBA from the University of California, Irvine.

We’ll be releasing additional episodes over the course of the next week as we get this series off the ground.

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