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Complete Genomics Sequences 14 Genomes

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Complete Genomics has sequenced and analyzed 14 human genomes for customers since it began a limited trial launch in March, the company said today.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based DNA sequencing services firm plans to scale up its technology and capabilities for a full commercial launch set for the beginning of 2010, a year in which the company plans to sequence 10,000 genomes.

The firm said among its customers are Pfizer; the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology; Duke University; Brigham & Women's Hospital; the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology; the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research; the Institute for Systems Biology; and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. However, it did not say whether any of these customers are among the 14 that received the genomes.

The company said it "greatly reduces" the cost of human genome sequencing for such customers because its business model, which is to conduct the sequencing and analysis in its labs, frees users from having to buy instruments or reagents.

The firm's customers currently are using the services in pilot projects such as studies of various cancers, HIV, and schizophrenia.

Complete Genomics' ongoing scale-up and R&D efforts include developing new sequencing instruments that will be able to read sequences from multiple DNA nanoarrays at the same time, and building nanoarrays that allow it to sequence an entire genome on a single array.

"As part of the Personal Genome Project, we have had a single human genome sequenced by Complete Genomics," Harvard Medical School Professor of Genetics George Church, who also sits on the company's scientific advisory board, said in a statement. "We have cross-validated Complete Genomics' resulting data set, including a list of variants, to gauge its technical accuracy."

Church said the company's technology "can clearly deliver high-quality genomic data, which compare favorably with other published results, and at a low cost."

"It's all about scale," Complete Genomics CEO, President, and Chairman, Clifford Reid added. "Sequencing one human genome is a scientific curiosity. We need to sequence thousands of them to be able to make meaningful discoveries about the genetic basis of disease."

Reid said that the company's commercial business will "focus on high-volume human genome sequencing." It also will conduct small specialty projects on at least eight genomes for a cost of around $20,000 per genome. The cost for the high-volume projects could be as low as $5,000 per genome.

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