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Shares of Sequencing Instrument Makers Fall as Oxford Nanopore Unveils Platforms

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Shares of players in the sequencing space fell in afternoon trade after Oxford Nanopore unveiled its new nanopore sequencing platform at the Advances in Genome Biology and Technology meeting in Marco Island, Fla.

The Oxford, UK-based firm said that it will begin selling two DNA strand sequencing instruments this year: a higher-throughput version that uses its GridIon platform and a disposable MinIon system that will be the size of a USB memory stick and cost less than $900. At launch, both systems are expected to deliver read lengths of up to 100 kilobases with raw read error rates of about 1 percent.

(For more on the expected performance and costs associated with the instruments, see GenomeWeb Daily News sister publication In Sequence).

The company is not yet taking orders for the platforms but plans to launch the systems commercially during the second half of this year.

"If performance is as highlighted, Oxford Nanopore's technology could be a game changer for not only the research lab but also for applied settings such as clinical diagnostics," Mizuho Securities analyst Peter Lawson said in a note published this afternoon.

News of the new competitor sent other established players on a downward trend today.

In mid-afternoon trade on the Nasdaq, shares of Life Technologies were down 6 percent at $47.01, Illumina fell 3 percent to $52.35, Pacific Biosciences dropped 5 percent to $4.79, and Complete Genomics slipped 3 percent to $3.86.

"We think that the markets are overreacting to the news today of a competing sequencing technology," Robert W. Baird analyst Quintin Lai said in a note. "While Oxford's announcement shows promise, we believe the court of scientific opinion and early access users will be the real determinant if the platform is commercially successful."