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GenapSys to Develop Microelectronic Sequencer


By Julia Karow

GenapSys of Menlo Park, Calif., is developing a DNA sequencing instrument that will be based on label-free nanosensor array technology.

According to the firm's website, its Genius technology platform will be "cost-disruptive," easy to use, fast, and will integrate automated sample preparation.

The new technology "will enable a new era of medicine through the widespread acquisition of DNA sequence data for research and testing of genetic disease, cancer, and microbes," the company said.

GenapSys was founded in 2010 by Hesaam Esfandyarpour (see Paired Ends, this issue), who developed an electronic DNA sequencing method that is based on direct heat or pH measurements while at the Stanford Genome Technology Center and the Center for Integrated Systems at Stanford University, where he was a PhD student with Ron Davis until 2009. He is currently GenapSys' acting CEO and chief technology officer.

Ion Torrent Systems licensed the pH sequencing technology non-exclusively from Stanford in 2010. Esfandyarpour and Mostafa Ronaghi, a former Stanford investigator and current senior vice president and chief technology officer at Illumina, are the inventors on US Patent No. 7,932,034, "Heat and pH measurement for sequencing of DNA."

GenapSys' scientific advisory board includes Ron Davis, professor of biochemistry and genetics and director of the Stanford Genome Technology Center; George Church, professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School; Mike Snyder, chair of genetics and director of the Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine at Stanford; Steve Quake, professor of bioengineering at Stanford; Juan Santiago, professor of mechanical engineering at Stanford; Like Lee, professor of bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley; and Bruce Wooley, professor of engineering at Stanford.

It is unclear how far the company has already developed its technology, or how it is funded. GenapSys is currently hiring in the areas of circuit design, biosensors, fluidics, device design, DNA sequencing and surface chemistry, and business and R&D management.

In 2010, the firm won a $250,000 grant through the Qualifying Therapeutic Discovery Project Program for a project entitled "Development of an inexpensive, ultra-high throughput micro-electronic medical sequencer" (IS 11/30/2010).

Esfandyarpour told In Sequence in an e-mail message that he cannot provide further information about the company at this time because GenapSys is currently in stealth mode.

Have topics you'd like to see covered in In Sequence? Contact the editor at jkarow [at] genomeweb [.] com.

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