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Illumina Gives Upbeat View For 1Q

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Illumina Inc. (ILMN) projected its first-quarter earnings will at least meet Wall Street estimates and forecast revenue above expectations. The upbeat guidance follows Swiss drug maker Roche Holding AG's (ROG.VX, RHHBY) sweetened takeover bid last week for Illumina, which makes machines that use blood or tissue samples to decode a person's entire genetic make-up in about a week--a process known as DNA sequencing. Illumina expects per-share earnings will meet or exceed analysts estimates on revenue of about $270 million. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters recently expected 31 cents a share and $257 million, respectively. Roche on Thursday raised its offer to $51 a share in an effort to reach a friendly deal after some of the U.S. gene-sequencing company's shareholders signaled that they wanted to accelerate the takeover process. Roche wants to buy Illumina to expand its offering of personalized medicines, a growing health-care field in which some of the largest pharmaceutical companies are vying to tailor treatments to patients' unique make-ups by using diagnostic tests. In February, Illumina's board unanimously rejected an earlier bid, calling the Swiss company's offer inadequate. Illumina in February also reported its fourth-quarter earnings dropped 70% as one-time charges masked a stronger core profit. The company expects to report first-quarter results later this month. Roche's American depositary shares were inactive in recent premarket trading. Illumina shares were down 1.4% at $51.85 in recent premarket trading. The company's shares have surged nearly 73% this year amid the takeover bid. -By Tess Stynes, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2481;

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