23 December 2011

NGS Hype War

Who’s winning the NGS hype war? 

A few years ago it was PacBio – they were going to sequence a genome in 15 minutes. Currently it would take them >90 days and cost ~$225k. (They’re now more sensibly focusing on the advantages of long reads and directly reading modified nucleotides.)  

Ion Torrent took over the reigns of ‘hype king’ with the launch of the Personal Genome Machine.  They are building on the trillion dollar investments of the silicon wafer industry and promising 10x improvements every six months, to infinity and beyond! The most recent promise is a $1000 genome in two hours in 2012. In all fairness, they’ve kept up their promises over the past 12 months. The “10MB” 314 chip is now producing up to 40MB. They launched the 10x improved “100MB” 316 chip over the summer, and it’s now routinely generating >200MB of data. The “1GB” 318 chip hasn’t launched yet, but it seems reasonable that they’ll be able to hit their target. I haven’t heard anything about their next chip (what would/could be the 320 chip), but I suspect they’ll have lots to say at Marco Island.

So Ion Torrent is clearly currently winning the hype war, but is there a contender? Mabye.  

Genia is a new start-up out of Menlo Park. They’re talking about the $100 genome (the $1000 genome is so 2011) and they’re calling themselves the “Last-Gen Sequencing” company. Apparently their technology is so revolutionary there won’t be a need for anything else. Just a heads up to anyone else developing their own technology, you might as well stop. Genia’s got it covered. No, they don’t have any instruments to sell just yet. And, no, they technically haven’t actually produced any sequence yet. But just you wait. They hype has just begun!