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Ignite Institute to Install 100 ABI SOLiD 4 Systems by Year End Under Life Tech Collaboration

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By Julia Karow

This article was originally published Jan. 28.

The Ignite Institute of Individualized Health will acquire 100 Applied Biosystems SOLiD 4 sequencing systems as part of a collaboration with Life Technologies, the company said last week.

The instruments will be installed at the not-for-profit institute's new facility in Fairfax County in Northern Virginia throughout 2010, with the first instruments arriving this quarter.

A spokesperson for the institute told In Sequence today that the institute expects the facility to start operating in the second quarter.

The list price for the SOLiD 4 platform is $495,000, but the spokesperson said that the institute is not disclosing details on the collaboration with Life Tech, including how much it is investing in sequencing technology.

Life Tech said it will recognize revenue related to the deal over the next three years. According to a spokesperson, the firm has no other obligations to the institute under the collaboration besides supplying the sequencing instruments and related services.

Life Tech Chairman and CEO Greg Lucier said the deal will make the Ignite Institute "the largest next-generation genome sequencing facility in North America."

"We are proud that Life Technologies will partner with such an innovative organization that's truly focused on translational research," Lucier said during the company's fourth-quarter 2009 earnings call last week.

The Ignite Institute was founded last year by Dietrich Stephan, a former deputy director of discovery research for the Translational Genomics Research Institute. It will integrate biomedical research, development, commercialization, and clinical care, according to the institute's website.

Its research will be focused on cancers; metabolic diseases such as diabetes; neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's; cardiovascular diseases, including myocardial infarction and stroke; and pediatric illnesses, such as autism spectrum disorder.

The institute spokesperson said Ignite has raised more than half of its $400-million five-year operating budget to date.

"Through our partnership with Life Technologies, we will be able to transform personalized medicine from promise to practice," Stephan said in a statement.

Life Tech announced the SOLiD 4 system earlier this week (see article in this issue). The platform, available this quarter, will initially provide 100 gigabases of sequence data per run and enable customers to sequence a human genome for $6,000 in reagent costs. Later this year, the output will triple to 300 gigabases per run and the cost per genome will fall to $3,000.

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