China's BGI bags Complete Genomics in $117M genome-sequencing buyout
After watching its stock price get pummeled throughout the course of this year, Complete Genomics ($GNOM) has accepted a $117 million buyout offer from China's BGI-Shenzhen. The deal comes at a 54% premium over the Mountain View, CA-based biotech's close in early June, when it announced a plan to start studying strategic options, igniting buzz about a likely takeover. But it was only a marginal improvement on a share price swelled by all the market speculation.
The takeover, which BGI aims to wrap up in 2013, marks a low tide level after a long, steady ebb in Complete Genomics' fortunes. Once heralded along with Pacific Biosciences as a pioneer in the move to sequence whole genomes in an ambitious effort to speed clinical trials and advance the era of personalized medicine, the company consistently failed to measure up to those early expectations. As Reuters reports, both of the smaller public sequencing companies have been feeling the heat of low-cost competition from such industry giants as Illumina ($ILMN) and Life Technologies ($LIFE).
The unimpressive financial performance, though, never dulled the company's reputation for cutting-edge technology and bold--perhaps, in retrospect, exaggerated--promises. But Complete Genomics will continue to operate as a separate company in California, and its new owners in China say they are still bullish about the company's prospects in R&D. BGI was credited by FierceBiotechIT recently for investing more in cloud computing technology in an effort to make whole genome sequencing more attractive to its customers. And now Complete Genomics is poised to benefit from the cutting-edge rep established by the Chinese company.
"Complete has developed a proprietary whole human genome sequencing technology that, together with other sequencing platforms used by BGI, will fit well with our research and business requirements and position Complete to become an even more successful global innovator," says BGI CEO Dr. Wang Jun.
Jefferies acted as sole financial advisor to Complete, according to a spokesperson. As for BGI, Citi served as financial advisor for this transaction.
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