The firm disclosed that it is collaborating with six early-access customers, including Monsanto and the Scripps Institute, on a variety of sequencing projects. It will soon finalize the list of institutions that will receive an early commercial version of its SMRT sequencer during the first half of next year.
At the Personal Genomes conference at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory last week, PacBio Chief Technology Officer Steve Turner showed that the company's platform can distinguish methylated from unmethylated bases for two types of nucleotides, and is able in principle to sequence RNA directly.
The funding will support PacBio's effort to launch its SMRT sequencing system in the second half of 2010, and will also serve as a financial "buffer" as the company looks to pursue an initial public offering or other large-scale financing effort some time next year.
The Houston-based startup plans to commercialize the reagents, called Lightning Terminators, for use with at least one existing sequencing platform. Long term, it wants to develop its own sequencing instrument for applications in personalized genomics.