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Illumina Slashes Omni2.5, Omni5 Array Prices to Match 'Growing Trend' of Larger Studies

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This article was originally posted on Oct. 25.

BOSTON – Customers who are interested in using Illumina's highest-content genotyping arrays will soon be able to do so at a reduced cost.

Jeremy Preston, director of product marketing for systems and consumables at Illumina, discussed the price adjustments during a workshop at the American Society of Human Genetics annual meeting, held here last week.

According to Preston, the price of Illumina's HumanOmni2.5 BeadChip has been cut in half to $172 from $349, and the price of Illumina's HumanOmni5 BeadChip has been reduced by roughly a third to $273 from $399.

Illumina launched the Omni2.5 and Omni5 in 2010 and 2011, respectively. The Omni2.5 contains about 2.8 million markers with the option to add 200,000 custom markers. The Omni5 includes approximately 4.3 million markers, with the option to add up to 500,000 custom markers.

Both chips were the culmination of Illumina's road map for delivering whole-genome genotyping arrays to the market for use in genome-wide association studies, based on content selected from international initiatives such as the 1000 Genomes Project.

Illumina CEO Jay Flatley said earlier this year that the company had planned eventually to produce Omni chips with as many as 20 million variants (BAN 5/21/2013).

Those plans were abandoned though, Flatley said, because customers now prefer lower-complexity, lower-price, higher-throughput arrays such as the HTS-24 format it launched earlier this month. Each HTS-24 BeadChip contains two dozen, 750,000-marker arrays (BAN 10/22/2013).

The first chip to ship in the HTS-24 format is Illumina's HumanOmniExpress BeadChip. The company also expects to ship 24-sample versions of its custom iSelect, HumanCoreExome, and HumanCore BeadChips next year.

Dan Peiffer, senior manager of product marketing at Illumina, told BioArray News that the launch of the HTS-24 format arrays and the price reductions for the Omni2.5 and Omni5 chips were part of an effort to "provide researchers with the best tools to power their genotyping studies" and to "directly match to the growing trend of larger sample sizes."

It's a trend that has not gone unnoticed by Affymetrix, Illumina's main competitor in the genotyping array market.

Mike Nemzek, Affymetrix's vice president of strategic marketing for genotyping, said that larger studies are driving a "general downward trend" in genotyping array cost.

"With the advent of these gigantic studies, the price of chips has gone lower than it has in the past," Nemzek told BioArray News at the conference. He noted that the UK Biobank will run 500,000 samples on Affymetrix's Axiom genotyping platform, and that there are a number of other studies where the intended sample size is greater than 100,000.

"On a per-sample basis, the price of arrays has gone lower than it's ever been," Nemzek said.

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