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Feds Scrutinize Genomics Merger

A Chinese biotech company is angling to buy California-based Complete Genomics, but federal regulators are expressing security concerns and may scuttle the deal.

By | December 6, 2012

WIKIMEDIA, APERSONBGI Shenzen (formerly known as the Beijing Genomics Institute), one of the world's foremost sequencing centers, has offered $118 million for the purchase of American sequencing company Complete Genomics, but federal authorities in the United States are raising concerns about the security of the data should the sale proceed. According to Politico, federal officials have cited the potential for the deal to compromise national security as a reason for their deliberations, which stalled the transaction after BGI Shenzen made its initial offer in September.

“Because there are questions about the technologies that are involved that are complex, cutting edge, and have national security implications related to bioweapons, this bears strict scrutiny,” Michael Wessel, a commissioner on the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission, told Politico. “Are there capabilities here that can be adverse to American interests?”

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) have been reviewing the deal for months. According to Politico, the key question under consideration is "whether there are national security concerns attached to allowing a company largely funded by the Chinese government to have access to human DNA being decoded for doctors, researchers, and pharmaceutical companies."

As the feds have investigaged the pending deal, San Diego-based Illumina, offered $123 million to buy Complete Genomics, but the company’s board rejected the bid, stating that the BGI Shenzen bid was of “superior quality.”

Ye Yin, CEO of BGI Shenzen, wrote a letter last week to Complete Genomics stating that his company was not owned by the Chinese government and arguing that even if the purchase of Complete Genomics is blocked, merger between the two US companies could also get delayed or nixed by FTC scrutiny over possible antitrust problems.

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Avatar of: Paul Stein

Paul Stein

Posts: 121

December 6, 2012

How stupid is the timing on this regarding "possible security concerns"?!  So, for the past three decades, NO ONE in the U.S. Government had ANY issue with THOUSANDS of Chinese students coming over to the United States to gain their doctorates and postdoctoral training at EVERY SINGLE ONE of our institutions of higher learning?  Companies like BGI Shenzen and biotech research institutes are popping up like mushrooms over there.  While the CEO of BGI Shenzen may state that his company isn't "owned" by the Chinese government, everything over there is controlled by the Government.  How does anyone think that massive influx of full tuition paying students has occurred?  The fact of the matter is that any "secrets" we know are either already over there or will be shortly after the next crop of doctorates heads back home.

Avatar of: jeenious

jeenious

Posts: 37

December 6, 2012

If you read the history of the political corruption, patronization and security f---ups that let to our allowing an alleged Chinese "manufacturer" to gain ownership of the only factory in the world that made magnets for guidance systems, you will get an even better picture of how horridly two-faced our politicians are, with regard to selling us out.

First it was consisdered top secret information. Then, through some of our politicians arrangements were made for this chinese "businessman" (with high-up political connections in China) to buy ownership of that factory. Just to make things look good to the press, a special rule was made that the manufacturing under the patent could only be conducted in the U. S. Duhhhhhhhhhhh.

And then, somehow, the factory in the U. S. got shut down and was opened up in China.

China and Afghanistan have more of the rare earth materials required to make those magnets, and there is only one place where we can mine them in the U. S., and the ore at that source is very limited.

Our politicians and their politically appointed heads of our security agencies talk tough about national security out of one side of their mouths and yet, allow such blatant, flagrant violations of security when there is some money to be gained by patronized politicians.

Remember a couple of years or so ago when Chinese

"scientists" tested their guidance system technology by shooting down one of their own sattelites?

Duhhhhhhhh!

What the average U. S. citizen does not know about what is for sale by our politicians may be a good thing.

If you learn too much, you could die of anger and anxiety.

We in the U. S. have the best political leaders "money can buy."

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