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Ultima Genomics, Nvidia Collaborating on Genome Analysis

NEW YORK – Sequencing technology newcomer Ultima Genomics said Monday that it has entered into a collaboration with Nvidia to accelerate genome analysis.

Newark, California-based Ultima emerged from stealth mode a week ago, backed by $600 million in funding, and said it plans to launch a high-throughput DNA sequencing platform early next year. The company also posted a BioRxiv preprint detailing its novel sequencing-by-synthesis method that it claims can lower the cost of human whole-genome sequencing to $100, potentially creating real competition for Illumina's NovaSeq high-throughput platform.

With the new partnership, the firm will embed Nvidia graphics processing units into its UG 100 high-throughput next-generation sequencing instruments, which are now in early testing. The Nvidia A30 GPUs, coupled with Nvidia's Clara artificial intelligence computing platform, accelerate primary and secondary analysis of data coming off the UG 100 units.

Ultima said that models from a separate partnership with Google's DeepVariant variant caller can run on Nvidia's Clara Parabricks platform for further secondary analysis.

"Ultima's mission is to continuously drive the scale of genomic information," Ultima CEO Gilad Almogy said in a statement. "Our unique architecture scales by combining multiple technologies, so we are excited to work with Nvidia, leveraging their platforms for GPUs and AI acceleration, to power high-quality sequencing and accelerate the computing to lower total cost of ownership for customers."

According to George Vacek, global director of genomics alliances at Nvidia, the Ultima collaboration demonstrates how Nvidia technology is designed to accelerate data processing at high volume. "Nvidia GPUs provide a high degree of onboard computational power within the UG 100, and data analysis can be accelerated downstream via Clara Parabricks, enabling large-scale data initiatives via analysis that is both higher throughput and lower cost," he said.