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Macrogen Expands Sequencing Fleet in Preparation for Clinical Sequencing Service Launch

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By Monica Heger

Korean genomic services provider Macrogen has expanded its sequencing fleet and plans to begin offering a clinical sequencing service for cancer by next year.

The company recently ordered 10 Illumina HiSeq 2000s and two MiSeqs. It plans to upgrade several of the new HiSeqs to the HiSeq 2500 when that system is commercially available later this year. Macrogen also has several SOLiD and 454 GS FLX platforms in place already, as well as three Ion Torrent PGMs.

The company purchased the additional sequencing platforms to support a clinical sequencing service that it plans to launch next year, a spokesperson for CEO Hyungtae Kim told Clinical Sequencing News.

Macrogen plans to initially offer targeted sequencing-based tests for several cancers, including colon, breast, and lung, and will likely expand its offerings from there.

It is currently validating its sequencing platforms, and while it has not made a final decision as to which platform it will launch the panels on, it said it would likely be either the MiSeq or the PGM.

Eventually, the company plans to offer clinical whole-genome sequencing. The spokesperson said that the HiSeq 2500 should be an ideal platform for that service due to its advertised capability of being able to sequence a whole genome in 27 hours. Macrogen does not yet have the 2500 upgrade.

The clinical sequencing service will be run out of Macrogen's Korean headquarters and one of its US-based branches. The company last year launched a US-based spinout called Axeq Technologies, which is based in Rockville, Md., and provides sequencing services worldwide. Axeq also has labs in Boston and New York (IS 2/22/2011). Macrogen expects to obtain CLIA certification for one of these three US branches, although has not yet decided which one.

Aside from expanding its offerings to include clinical services, Macrogen is involved in a number of clinically oriented research projects. The spokesperson said that the company has been focusing especially on biomarker discovery for disease diagnosis, prognosis, and to guide treatment decisions. The results of these research projects will help guide its clinical offerings.

It is also performing whole-genome sequencing for the Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for projects focused on understanding the Korean genome and epigenetics. Macrogen could not disclose further details about these projects.


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