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Survey Finds Researchers Most Likely to Purchase Ion Torrent PGM, MiSeq, HiSeq over Next Year

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A survey conducted by GenomeWeb in partnership with investment firm Mizuho Securities indicates that researchers looking to purchase a next-gen sequencer over the next 12 months are most likely to purchase Life Technologies' Ion Torrent PGM and Illumina's HiSeq and MiSeq instruments.

The survey, which collected responses from 94 GenomeWeb readers in mid-October, also found that Complete Genomics' service is making "inroads into the instrument-dominated market," with an approximately 11 percent share of the sequencing services market, Mizuho analyst Peter Lawson wrote in a research note outlining the results of the survey.

Lawson estimated that Illumina currently dominates the next-gen sequencing market with around 60 percent share, while Life Technologies commands 19 percent of the market, Roche/454 15 percent, Pacific Biosciences 2 percent, and Complete Genomics 2 percent.

In terms of specific instruments, the survey results indicate that Illumina's HiSeq holds approximately 40 percent of the total NGS market, followed by the Illumina Genome Analyzer with 21 percent share. Life Tech's SOLiD, meantime, commands 8 percent of the market while the Ion PGM holds a 10 percent share.

Lawson noted in his report that these results are roughly in line with a survey In Sequence conducted earlier this year, which found that Illumina held around 67 percent of the market, Life Tech 23 percent, Roche 9 percent, and PacBio 1 percent (IS 1/25/2011).

The GenomeWeb/Mizuho survey did not assess the total number of units per responding lab, however, so Lawson warned that it is "not a perfect representation of market share." Specifically, Roche's share is likely "over-represented as there are typically fewer units per institution and in contrast Illumina is under-represented as there tend to be more than one unit per lab."

The 20-question survey was e-mailed to a small subset of GenomeWeb readers comprising researchers in academic organizations or biopharmaceutical firms. Around 65 percent of the 94 respondents said they work in a government or academic setting, while 21 percent were from industry. Around 78 percent of respondents work in or manage a lab.

The survey, which was intended to assess broad trends in the genomics R&D market, follows a similar survey that GenomeWeb and Mizuho conducted in June (IS 6/14/2011).

While that survey found that next-generation sequencing was the technology of most interest to the community, the results of the current questionnaire indicate that RNA-seq and informatics have surpassed general NGS as the technologies that will garner the highest amount of spending over the next 12 months (RNA-seq was not a category in the Q2 survey).

A net of 62 percent of respondents said they plan to increase spending on RNA-seq over the next year, while 60 percent said they will increase spending on informatics and 52 percent said they'd increase spending on NGS (see chart 1, below).

Increasing interest in sequencing and RNA-seq appears to be having a negative impact on arrays, however. A net of 34 percent of respondents said they plan on spending less on gene expression arrays over the next year, while a net of 29 percent said the same for array-based genotyping.

Single-molecule sequencing appears to have diminished in respondents' outlook. A net of 25 percent of participants said they plan on increasing their spending on single-molecule sequencing over the next 12 months, but this was a sharp decrease from 50 percent of respondents who said the same in the second-quarter GenomeWeb/Mizuho survey.

In-House or Outsource?

In response to a question regarding which next-gen sequencing instruments they plan to purchase over the next 12 months, more than 42 percent of respondents said they are not likely to buy any instrument — a trend in line with a "cautious outlook for equipment spending, especially capital equipment" in the academic market, Lawson wrote.

Nevertheless, for those researchers who are looking to buy a sequencer in the next year, HiSeq, Ion Torrent, and MiSeq were the platforms most likely to be added, "an indication of the high levels of demand for lower-cost platform launches" in the case of Ion Torrent and MiSeq, he wrote (see chart 2, below).

Roche’s 454 "remains an important player in the space, although more marginalized and niche-focused," and PacBio ranked "surprisingly well," particularly given the recent news about layoffs at the company (IS 9/20/2011), Lawson said.

Life Technologies’ SOLiD "continues to rank poorly," Lawson noted, though he said that the upcoming "Wildfire" sample-prep kit intended to eliminate emulsion PCR (IS 10/18/2011) "could improve placements in 2012."

The survey indicates that the sequencing services sector stands to be a growth area for the market. More than 75 percent of respondents agreed that whole genome sequencing is ripe for outsourcing and 47 percent said that they currently outsource NGS (see chart 3, below).

The most important factors driving outsourcing were instrument, personnel, and IT costs. Only 9 percent of respondents believed that the cost of outsourcing is currently prohibitive.

Resequencing and whole-genome sequencing were the most likely sequencing applications to be outsourced, with 21 percent of respondents outsourcing each type of sequencing. This was followed by exome sequencing and targeted sequencing, which each garnered 17 percent of respondent answers.

Genome centers such as the Broad Institute and Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute were listed as the most comment outsourcing providers, with 42 percent of respondents saying they turned to such centers for their sequencing projects (see chart 4, below).

BGI commanded 24 percent of the services market and the Illumina Genome Network garnered 11 percent — the same share claimed by Complete Genomics, which was "impressive" according to Lawson, "given their limited commercial history and focus on only performing human whole-genome sequencing."

Impact of the $1K Genome

Similar to the Q2 GenomeWeb/Mizuho survey, respondents indicated that they'd be willing to get their genomes sequence once the price drops below $1,000 — to around $814 on average.

Furthermore, respondents said that a cost of $1,246 per genome would drive them to outsource human whole-genome sequencing, while only 7 percent said they'd outsource at the price currently quoted by Complete Genomics of $4,000 to $5,000.

In addition, a $1,009 price point would encourage respondents to replace RNA arrays with sequencing, while an average price of $1,296 would cause respondents to replace DNA
arrays with sequencing (see chart 5, below).


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In Sequence's sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News has published a separate article looking at the survey results with a focus on researcher funding expectations.

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