- Illumina has unveiled new technology designed to reduce the cost of sequencing a genome to $200.
- The more powerful of the two NovaSeq X Series machines can generate more than 20,000 whole genomes per year, 2.5 times the throughput of prior sequencers. Illumina envisages the devices accelerating genomic discovery and clinical insights.
- Illumina shares fell 5% over the two days after the announcement, suggesting investors remain pessimistic about the company’s outlook amid its troubles with Grail. The stock has dropped 50% this year.
Illumina has steadily driven down the cost of sequencing, hailing the advent of the $1,000 genome with the unveiling of its HiSeq X Ten machine in 2014 and now following up with news of a further drop in pricing. If the NovaSeq X Series machines are run at full capacity, the cost per genome falls to about $200. The more powerful of the two machines, the NovaSeq X Plus, costs $1.25 million.
The machines are part of a long line of products that have enabled Illumina to dominate the market for short-read sequencing. However, the company’s attempt to accelerate its expansion into the long-read market, which poses a potential threat to its business, was thwarted by competition regulators.
Illumina, having terminated its $1.2 billion Pacific Biosciences takeover over competition concerns, now is reliant on in-house activity to head off the threat of long-read rivals. The company shared an update on its long-read technology alongside the NovaSeq X news and said it will launch two products in 2023.
One of the products is an enrichment panel that targets hard-to-map regions of the genome. When used in combination with the NovaSeq 6000 and NovaSeq X Series, Illumina claims the panel “delivers a significant improvement in throughput and cost versus on-market long read technology.” The company has yet to post data showing its offering improves on PacBio and Oxford Nanopore Technologies machines.
Illumina shares fell 1.5 percent to $188 in Monday morning trading.