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Complete Genomics Launches CoolMPS-Based DNBseq-G800 Sequencer


NEW YORK – Complete Genomics last week unveiled a new sequencing platform, DNBseq-G800, that was built exclusively for use with the firm's antibody-based CoolMPS chemistry.

The new sequencer, first presented at the Advances in Genome Biology and Technology annual meeting last week, appears to be a sibling instrument to Complete Genomics' existing mid-throughput platform DNBseq-G400 but implements the CoolMPS chemistry, which the company claims enables higher data quality and faster sequencing.

Complete Genomics said the price of the new platform is "equal to or better than" that of the G400 sequencer, which has a list price of $250,000 and has sequencing costs between $4 and $5 per Gb of data. Similar to the G400, the G800 supports two independent flow cells, which can each generate 1.8 billion reads. The company did not disclose timelines for first shipments.

In an interview, Complete Genomics Cofounder and CSO Rade Drmanac said that the G800 is the company's first instrument that is optimized for and only relies on the CoolMPS chemistry. The firm's other platforms, such as the DNBseq-T7, DNBseq-G99, and DNBseq-G400, use the StandardMPS chemistry.

According to Drmanac, the difference between StandardMPS and CoolMPS is that the former uses labeled nucleotides with a dye attached to the base, which can be less efficient to incorporate and leaves a molecular scar after cleavage, whereas the latter employs unlabeled nucleotides that are blocked at the 3' end with reversible terminators.

For CoolMPS, after incorporation of the unlabeled nucleotides, four types of antibodies that are base-specific and 3' block-dependent are introduced, and the dyes attached to the antibodies generate signals.

"The nice thing about antibodies is that they are particles, so now we can put [multiple] dyes on the same antibody to increase the signals," Drmanac said. "The increased signal means more accurate sequencing and longer-read sequencing."

With CoolMPS, the G800 is currently designed to support two sequencing kits: paired-end (PE)150 and single-end (SE)600. Specifically, with faster time delay and integration (TDI)-based imaging, Drmanac said, the instrument can complete a PE150 run in 48 hours while delivering Q40 for more than 90 percent of the reads. For SE600, the average quality score for the reads is around Q40, he added.

MGI Tech is no stranger to announcing CoolMPS-based sequencers during the AGBT annual meeting. At AGBT 2020, MGI already signaled its intent to roll out a CoolMPS-based sequencer in the US market, releasing a preprint describing the chemistry and presenting on the technology during the conference. However, that first attempt to launch CoolMPS in the US was somewhat thwarted by Illumina's patent litigations.

On the eve of AGBT 2022, MGI Americas, a subsidiary of MGI Tech, again said that the company would make its CoolMPS sequencing chemistry and DNBseq-G400 sequencer commercially available in the US, after a certain Illumina patent was set to expire that year.

According to Drmanac, CoolMPS was "not widely used" on the G400 given that the company also released the StandardMPS kits on that machine in the US in January 2023, after the company ended a string of patent suits with Illumina. With a shorter run time, StandardMPS displaced the use of CoolMPS on the G400, he added.

The G800, on the other hand, is "a whole new system compared to what was in the G400," he said, even though the two platforms have the same general appearance and use the same flow cells. 

While the G800 can finish a PE150 run in 48 hours, he said, the turnaround time for CoolMPS on the G400, using the same kit, was about 80 hours with 85 percent of the reads having Q30 quality. In addition, the G400, which was originally designed for use with StandardMPS and later made compatible with CoolMPS, also does not support the longer SE600 kit, he noted.

Unlike some other MGI platforms, which have been launched outside the US first, Drmanac said the G800 will first be available to US customers although he did not say when.

Besides the G800, Complete Genomics also announced an upgrade to the existing StandardMPS chemistry last week. With "better" reagents, a new polymerase, and improved basecalling software, the StandardMPS 2.0 chemistry promises to deliver Q40 scores for more than 90 percent of reads, Drmanac claimed, adding that the chemistry will be first introduced for select DNBseq instruments, including the T7, G99, and G400.

Complete Genomics did not present customer data for StandardMPS 2.0 or the G800 at this time, however.