Life Technologies Benchtop Ion Proton Sequencer will sequence human genomes in one day for less than $1000 by yearend and Illumina will have a competing sub-$1000 per human genome sequencer by yearend

1. Life Technologies introduces the Benchtop Ion Proton™ Sequencer. It is designed to sequence a Human Genome in one day for $1,000.

The Ion Proton™ Sequencer, priced at $149,000, is based on the next generation of semiconductor sequencing technology that has made its predecessor, the Ion Personal Genome Machine™ (PGM™), the fastest-selling sequencer in the world.

Up to now, it has taken weeks or months to sequence a human genome at a cost of $5,000 to $10,000 using optical-based sequencing technologies. The slow pace and the high instrument cost of $500,000 to $750,000 have limited human genome sequencing to relatively few research labs.

Baylor College of Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, and The Broad Institute, have each signed up for multiple Ion Proton™ Sequencers and will be the first customers to adopt this transformative technology.

The Power of Benchtop Sequencing for All Applications

Between the benchtop Ion PGM™ Sequencer and the benchtop Ion Proton™ Sequencer, the Ion Torrent technology can cover any application. The Ion PGM™ Sequencer is ideal for sequencing genes, small genomes, panels of genes, or performing gene expression profiling, for as little as $99 a chip. The Ion PGM™ Sequencer’s speed, simplicity and scalability also make it an ideal platform to extend into diagnostics. Life Technologies will seek FDA clearance for the Ion PGM™ platform in 2012.

The Ion Proton™ Sequencer is ideal for sequencing both exomes — regions in the DNA that code for protein — and human genomes. The Ion Proton™ I Chip, ideal for sequencing exomes, will be available mid-2012. The Ion Proton™ II Chip, ideal for sequencing whole human genomes, will be available about six months later. In addition, the Ion Proton™ OneTouch™ system automates template prep and a stand-alone Ion Proton™ Torrent Server performs the primary and secondary data analysis.

“Just six months after our first semiconductor sequencing chip was released, people used it to solve the German E. coli outbreak, sequencing the toxic strain in just a couple of hours,” said Dr. Jonathan M. Rothberg, the Founder and CEO of the Ion Torrent division. “Now, six months later we’re developing a chip that’s 1,000 times more powerful than that to sequence an entire human genome in about the same amount of time. That’s the power that semiconductors bring to sequencing.

2. Illumina (Nasdaq:ILMN) today introduced the HiSeq® 2500, a next-generation sequencing system that will enable researchers and clinicians to sequence an entire genome in approximately 24 hours, “Genome in a Day”. The HiSeq 2500 leverages the continued technology advancements from both the HiSeq 2000 and MiSeq™ platforms.

Marketwatch – Illumina said its machine, the HiSeq 2500, will cost around $740,000. The device will also be available as a $50,000 upgrade to its existing HiSeq 2000 sequencing system, and will ship during the second half of the year.

Despite HiSeq’s higher cost, Illumina has the advantage of being the market leader, and its systems are highly regarded for accuracy and sophistication.

An Illumina spokeswoman said Tuesday that the company had not yet disclosed how much it would cost to map a genome through the HiSeq 2500. But according to Mizuho Securities analyst Peter Lawson, the machine would put a $1,000 genome “within reach.”

“Life’s Ion Torrent boxes appear to be more cutting-edge, with plenty of upside for throughput and volume but more experimental, while Illumina’s boxes that generate around 90% of the data are still for those that want to get the job done — and will continue to command the attention of the high-volume labs,” Lawson wrote in an e-mail to MarketWatch.

The current gene sequencer market is $1.5 billion and is expected to expand into a $3.6 billion market by 2015.

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