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Life Technologies, Ignite Institute Team on Sequencing; Ignite Buys 100 New SOLiD Systems

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Life Technologies today said that it will team with the Ignite Institute on creating the largest next-generation genomic sequencing facility in North America, part of which includes Ignite purchasing 100 of the firm's new SOLiD 4 Sequencing System.

Life Technologies announced after the close of the market yesterday the launch of the SOLiD 4, which will be available for upgrade this quarter. It said that the newest system generates up to 100 gigabases of mappable sequence data per run at a cost of $6,000 per genome.

The firm said that the new instrument will "provide the throughput to fuel the research that could yield countless diagnostic, preventive and therapeutic advances."

The Ignite Institute is a non-profit institute recently founded by CEO Dietrich Stephan, who previously was a co-founder and chief scientific officer of the direct-to-consumer genetics company Navigenics and formerly the deputy director of discovery research at the Translational Genomics Research Institute.

Ignite plans to house technologies that include genome sequencing systems, a transcriptional profiling facility, a proteomics and metabolomics scanning facility, and facilities for molecular scanning. The institute's research specialties will be cancers, neurological and mental health disorders, diabetes and other metabolic diseases, pediatric diseases, and cardiovascular diseases — between three and five diseases in each category.

"Ignite was established as a non-profit collaborative enterprise to pioneer a new model for 21st century medicine through molecular scientific discovery, rapid commercialization and practical application in patient care," Stephan said in a statement today. "Through our partnership with Life Technologies, we will be able to help transform personalized medicine from promise to practice."

Installations of the SOLiD 4 Systems at Ignite will begin in the first quarter of this year and will continue through the balance of 2010, Life Technologies said. It also noted that revenue related to the deal is expected to be recognized over the next three years.

Life Technologies also said yesterday that in the second half of 2010 the SOLiD 4 System can be upgraded with the SOLiD 4hq package, "which will generate up to 300 gigabases of mappable sequence data per run and deliver accuracy of 99.99 percent, enabling customers to sequence the highest quality whole genome for a cost of $3,000."

One of Life Technologies' primary competitors in the sequencing field, Illumina, recently introduced its newest system, the HiSeq 2000. The company said that the HiSeq is capable of 200 gigabases per run and cuts the cost of sequencing a human genome to the sub-$10,000 level.

In addition to the new SOLiD system, Life Technologies officials recently said at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference that the firm intends to launch an early-access program in late 2010 for its single-molecule sequencing system.

Life Technologies also said after the close of the market on Wednesday that its philanthropic arm will provide the $5 million in grants over the next two years to accelerate the education of physicians in the field of molecular medicine.

Under the first of these grants, the Life Technologies Foundation has awarded a total of $600,000 to the Scripps Translational Science Institute and the Translational Genomics Research Institute.

The firm said that Scripps will use the funds to create a new accreditation board, the Association of Genomic Medicine, in 2010 for physicians specializing in molecular medicine. The AGM is expected to establish an educational curriculum that would lead to the accreditation of physicians in genomic medicine.

TGen will use the funds to support two fellowships in genomic and molecular medicine focused on the treatment of rare cancers. It also will use the funds for workshops for physicians interested in understanding how genomics can be used to change the course of medical treatment, said Life Technologies.

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