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BGI Launches Desktop Sequencer in China; Plans to Register Platform With CFDA


NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – BGI last weekend launched a desktop sequencing platform, BGISEQ-500, that is based on Complete Genomics' core technology.

The launch, at BGI's 10th International Conference on Genomics in Shenzhen, comes four months after Complete Genomics, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BGI, released a high-throughput sequencing system, Revolocity, for analyzing large numbers of human genomes. BGI had said early in the year that it was planning to launch two NGS systems in 2015, both using Complete Genomics' technology.

Unlike Revolocity, the BGISEQ-500 is currently only available in China, though BGI is building local services or partnering with local providers outside of China, according to Xu Xun, director of BGI Research and chief scientist of BGI. BGI will start taking orders for BGISEQ-500 by the end of this year and anticipates shipping the first instruments in early 2016.

BGI is also preparing to register BGISEQ-500 with the Chinese FDA, Xun told GenomeWeb. It already has its NIFTY noninvasive prenatal test approved by the CFDA on two platforms — BGISEQ-100, which is based on Thermo Fisher Scientific's Ion Torrent, and BGISEQ-1000, which is based on Complete Genomics' core technology. The institute said this summer that it plans to run NIFTY on the BGISEQ-500, as well.

Xun said BGISEQ-500 will have a price tag that is about one-third lower than that of comparable sequencing platforms. This is possible because BGI has its own supply chain in China for building the instrument that is less expensive than Complete Genomics' supply chain in the US, Complete Genomics CEO Cliff Reid told GenomeWeb earlier this month.

The platform already has several undisclosed early-access customers for clinical applications development, Xun said.

According to BGI, the new instrument integrates automated sample preparation, sequencing, and data analysis and has a turnaround time of 24 hours from sample input to results. It has an output between 8 gigabases and 200 gigabases, depending on which of 16 sequencing modes is used, and can process two chips in parallel. It also features radio frequency identification technology and barcode scanning for sample and reagent tracking, touch screen operations, and built-in automatic analysis software.

At last week's conference, institute researchers presented genome, exome, genotyping, and RNA-seq data generated on the BGISEQ-500 and showed possible applications in noninvasive prenatal testing, monogenic disease diagnostics, and cancer testing.