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'Find Me a Sequencer'

A new startup hopes to match researchers to idle sequencing machines much as Airbnb matches vacationers to empty apartments, Wired reports.

The company, called Meenta, has developed an algorithm that finds researchers with similar projects to bundle together to assign to a sequencing machine that's filling up with experiments. This way, CEO and co-founder Gabor Bethlendy tells Wired, more researchers would have access to sequencing machines.

Wired says that there currently are some 3,000 sequencers in the US and there between $80,000 to $985,000, but it notes that Illumina recently unveiled a $20,000 iSeq machine. Weill Cornell Medicine's Christopher Mason told GenomeWeb in January that he was excited about that machine because it underscored the possibility of "home-based sequencing."

Meenta is also moving beyond offering only sequencing-matching services, Wired says, as it has an agreement with HarkerBIO, a company that offers protein structure analysis, and wants to offer a full workflow. "I think scientists should be able to create experiments in the cloud without ever owning the instruments," Bethlendy adds.