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SoftBank invests $900m more in Nasdaq-listed US gene tech maker

Pacific Biosciences shares soar following latest fundraising from Japanese group

SoftBank Group has focused more on public companies recently, looking to diversify its investments. (Photo by Yoichi Iwata)

TOKYO -- Japan's SoftBank Group will invest $900 million in a U.S. developer of equipment for genetic analysis, building on its earlier investment in the company.

Nasdaq-listed Pacific Biosciences of California said Wednesday that SoftBank Group agreed to buy convertible bonds through subsidiary SB Management.

The fresh capital infusion comes as billionaire Masayoshi Son's SoftBank Group, known for troubled bets on tech names like Uber and WeWork, diversifies its portfolio with mainly U.S. listed companies.

"We believe that PacBio's HiFi sequencing will be the de facto standard tool for population genomics, fundamentally altering the practice of health care," SB Management CEO Akshay Naheta said in a statement.

Pacific Biosciences, which produces high-speed genetic sequencing platforms, reported about $91 million in revenue and a net loss of $84 million for 2019. Its shares closed with a 16% gain Wednesday on news of the capital infusion.

Pacific Biosciences will use the new funding to bring next-generation technology to market.

The investment "enables us to further accelerate our growth strategies," Pacific Biosciences President and CEO Christian Henry said in a statement.

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