NEW YORK – Element Biosciences said this week that its 2023 preliminary revenues were at least $25 million. The company also provided an update on its product pipeline for the coming year.
The revenue figure was the first public disclosure of the firm's sales and was published as part of a larger update on the sequencing instrument maker's plans for 2024 that CEO and Cofounder Molly He gave at the 42nd annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco this week.
The installed base of Aviti sequencers increased by 88 instruments to 112 in 2023, and the firm aims to more than double this number in 2024, He told GenomeWeb in an interview.
Element is also planning to release a suite of new technologies and products, He said, including a new sequencing kit that promises Q50 quality scores, or an error rate of just 1 in 100,000, as well as a new "universally compatible" chemistry that eliminates the need for library conversion from samples prepared for other sequencing platforms. Though she did not mention any competitors by name, He said Element plans to expand to "all major legacy libraries."
Element is also planning to do library preparation directly on its flow cells, which could offer time and cost savings and make the process simpler.
It also plans to provide multiomics capabilities to "rapidly assess cell states on a single platform," He said. DNA, RNA, proteins, protein phosphorylation, and morphology could be simultaneously detected and analyzed on Aviti, she added.
"The new capabilities in multiomics can help cell biologists by integrating molecular analysis into the samples that we study, thus redefining human cell biology at unprecedented depth and resolution," Sarah Teichmann, head of cellular genetics at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, said in a statement released by Element.
Element launched its Aviti sequencer in 2022, joining a bevy of new entrants into the short-read sequencing market, dominated in recent years by Illumina.
He said that approximately half of Element's customers are outside the US. Aviti has advantage for the decentralized sequencing market, she noted, where customers may be looking to avoid having to batch samples for a number of reasons.
Some of the new technologies, including a new mode that increases reads per run for all sequencing kits to improve cost per read for applications such as single-cell sequencing, are available now with a field upgrade. Expert mode HD will generate between 20 percent and 70 percent more reads, enabling prices of under $1 per million reads for counting applications, He said.
All of the new technologies should be backward-compatible with sequencers already out there. "The underlying tech didn't really change," He said.
By the end of the first quarter, Element plans to launch Cloudbreak Freestyle, a chemistry that will eliminate library conversion and "reduce switching costs to near zero," He said.
In Q2, Element plans to launch Cloudbreak UltraQ, its Q50 kit. It will have a "slightly lower" output and "slightly longer" run time, but He expects the boost in data quality to help the company gain traction in clinical research.
The technology to prepare samples on its flow cell is called Trinity and should help make targeted sequencing applications more efficient, He said. The firm is planning to tackle whole-exome panels first. As Element does not provide panels, it has partnered with another company on a whole-exome panel, however, He declined to disclose its name at this time. "We're open to work with our partners in all kinds of different applications," He noted.
Element is calling its multiomic technology Aviti24, which He described as a "time-resolved cellular decoder." Biology is kinetically driven, He said, "With Aviti24, we are able to get a glimpse into biology with a time course." Existing Avitis can be upgraded for this capability, she added.
In addition to detecting various analytes in the same sample, Aviti24 "unifies the data type," making it more useful for artificial intelligence-based analysis, He said. "It provides a powerful tool for iterative learning."
"Images are incredibly rich in information, and it is very exciting to see Element innovating to integrate cell morphology with precise molecular measurements," Emma Lundberg, a researcher at Stanford University, said in Element's statement. "I believe that we'll be able to more accurately resolve transient cell phenotypes and states by capturing both types of information simultaneously."
The multiomic technology could enable applications such as cellular morphology-based phenotyping after CRISPR perturbation, analysis of allele-specific expression in a cell- specific fashion, and cell-based analysis of alternatively spliced gene isoforms, Robi Mitra, a computational biologist at Washington University in St. Louis, noted in the statement.
When asked if Aviti24 was a spatial technology, He said, "I do not know how people define spatial. Right now, we define our product as multiomic. It is a high-resolution reading. We will show a lot more technical details at [the Advances in Genome Biology and Technology meeting]" in early February.