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Complete Genomics Raises $45 Million in Series D


In late summer, Complete Genomics announced that it had raised $45 million in private equity from a Series D funding round, which closed six months later than originally planned. As a result, the company, which anticipates reaching profitability next year, has pushed back its plans to launch its human genome sequencing service from June 2009 to January 2010. The funding adds to the $46 million that the company raised in three prior financing rounds.

The firm plans to sequence 10,000 human genomes next year using its proprietary sequencing technology. Previously, it was aiming to sequence 1,000 human genomes by the end of this year and 20,000 in 2010.

The "1,000 genome mark" has "slipped out" by six months, and the company now expects to reach it by mid-2010, says Complete Genomics chairman, president, and CEO Cliff Reid. The firm is still targeting a price of $5,000 per human genome for batches of genomes when the service launches.

The six-month push-back is tied to the company's inability to raise new funding in a timely manner, he says. In April, Complete Genomics first revealed that the closing of its Series D round was delayed, forcing it to cut costs.

"Our timing could not have been worse," Reid says. "We started this financing the day that Lehman Brothers failed and found that in Q4 and Q1, the private equity financing world was really on hold." Only in early April did those companies start to move toward making new investments again, he adds.

The funding will be sufficient to launch the company's human genome sequencing service in January and to build and scale up its commercial sequencing center, based in Mountain View, Calif., over the first six months of 2010 as the firm transitions from an R&D to a services company, according to Reid.

Complete Genomics, which currently has about 120 employees, also plans a "modest headcount increase."

— Julia Karow

Sequencing Notes

LadaTech has filed suit against Illumina, saying that the sequencing vendor's Genome Analyzer and related products and services infringe a patent originally assigned to Genelabs and now held by LadaTech. The patent was issued in 2000 and covers a "method of amplifying a mixture of DNA fragments by repeated linker/primer replication."

Helicos BioSciences installed two systems and recorded $371,000 in revenue during the second quarter, according to its SEC filings. As of Aug. 14, the company reported having $5 million in cash and equivalents. According to Helicos President Steve Lombardi, in late summer the company had a total of seven instruments installed, including four "placements" by Helicos and three systems ordered by customers.


Number of worm genomes resequenced by the Beijing Genomics Institute to develop a genetic variation map for silkworm.

Funded Grants

$187,130/FY 2009
Phylogenetic binning of metagenomic sequence data
Grantee: Eric Allen, University of California, San Diego
Began: Aug. 24, 2009; Ends: Jul. 31, 2011

Allen and his team will use this grant to "develop new computational methods for large-scale taxonomic classification of metagenomic sequence data, applicable to raw reads as well as assembled contigs" and "develop software and protocols to use taxonomic data binning as a pre-treatment to increase efficiency of existing sequence assembly software," the grant abstract says.

$232,500/FY 2009
Cross-Species Microarray-Based Genomic
Selection: Application To Nonhuman Primate
Grantee: James Thomas, Emory University
Began: Jan. 15, 2009; Ends: Dec. 31, 2009

The plan for this grant is "to test and to demonstrate the capability of a newly developed genomic technology, microarray-based genomic selection" as a method to "use the available nonhuman primate genomic resources as a springboard for population-based genomic sequencing in a greater diversity of species," according to the abstract.

The Scan

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Finding Safe Harbor in the Human Genome

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New Data Point to Nuanced Relationship Between Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder

Lund University researchers in JAMA Psychiatry uncover overlapping genetic liabilities for major depression and bipolar disorder.