Roche in talks to buy gene sequencing systems maker Pacific Biosciences of California

Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG has recently started talks to buy maker of gene sequencing systems Pacific Biosciences of California Inc, Reuters yesterday reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Talks have not yet reached an advanced stage as both companies have disagreements over the price, the report said, adding there is no certainty that Roche will continue to pursue Pacific Biosciences, the report said.

Roche had in 2013 signed a partnership deal with Pacific Biosciences for the development in vitro diagnostic products using the technology, and Roche funded $75 million for the development.

Pacific Biosciences, which develops and manufactures systems for gene sequencing, has a market cap of nearly $1 billion.

Pacific Biosciences was founded in 2004 under the name Nanofluidics Inc based on research done at Cornell University.

The company raised nearly $400 million in six rounds of venture capital financing, and key investors included Mohr Davidow Ventures, Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, Alloy Ventures, and Wellcome Trust.

The Menlo Park, California-based company went public in 2010.

Pacific Biosciences designs, develops and manufactures the PacBio RS II Sequencing System to help scientists resolve genetically complex problems.

It has developed Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT) Sequencing technology which transforms the understanding of biological systems by enabling real-time analysis of biomolecules with single-molecule resolution.

With an annual turnover of 47.4 billion Swiss franc, Roche is the world's largest biotech company, and specialises in oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology and neuroscience.

Roche is also the leader in in-vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics, and a frontrunner in diabetes management.

Twenty-four medicines developed by Roche are included in the World Health Organisation Model Lists of Essential Medicines, among them life-saving antibiotics, antimalarials and chemotherapy.