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GenomeWeb/Mizuho Survey Finds Researchers Optimistic for Sequencing Funding, Market Growth

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The genomics research community is optimistic that sequencing will continue to see an increase in research funding over the next 12 months, according to a survey conducted by GenomeWeb in collaboration with Mizuho Securities.

The survey also found that respondents expect sequencing to overtake microarrays in most applications within five years, that they believe sequencing will penetrate the consumer market within approximately six years, and that the average price point at which most respondents would get their genome sequenced is $700.

The 15-question survey was e-mailed to a small subset of GenomeWeb readers comprising researchers in academic organizations or biopharmaceutical firms. Responses were collected between May 24 and June 2 and there were a total of 109 respondents, of whom 82 percent completed each question.

Around 61 percent of respondents said they work in a government or academic setting, while 25 percent were from industry. Around 75 percent of respondents work in or manage a lab.

The survey, which was intended to assess broad trends in the –omics R&D market, indicates that next-generation sequencing is far and away the technology of most interest to the community. The majority of participants believe that sequencing technologies will see the largest increase in funding over the next 12 months — 71 percent said they believe second-generation sequencing technologies will see the largest increase in funding and 49 percent said that third-generation/single-molecule technologies would see the largest increase. Respondents could select more than one answer.

Furthermore, sequencing-based association studies ranked higher than array-based genome-wide association studies — with 29 percent of respondents saying the former would see an increase in funding and 13 percent saying GWAS would (See chart 1, below).

Respondents also believe that new sequencing technologies represent the most exciting instrument development coming out of genomics, with Oxford Nanopore, Pacific Biosciences, Illumina's HiSeq, and Life Technologies' Ion Torrent systems all ranking highly in a question that asked participants to rank the most and least exciting technologies in the market.

While some technologies, such as Oxford Nanopore and the HiSeq, registered almost no negative opinions, Pacific Biosystems and Ion Torrent had a high level of "least exciting" votes, which were outweighed by those who found those systems to be the most exciting technology.

Early-stage sequencing technologies such as Nabsys and Halcyon Molecular did not score well (see Charts 2 and 3 below).

The survey asked participants whether and when they believed sequencing would supplant microarrays for genotyping and gene expression applications. Around 18 percent of respondents said there would always be strong demand for arrays in both applications, but approximately 38 percent said they believe sequencing will significantly replace both DNA and RNA arrays within two years.

Respondents said this conversion would happen sooner for DNA chips than RNA chips: within three to four years for genotyping arrays and within four to five years for gene expression arrays (see Chart 4 below).

The survey also asked respondents whether they would get their own genome sequenced, and at what price. Around 24 percent of respondents said they would only get their genome sequenced for medical reasons, while 8 percent said they would not get their genome sequenced for any reason.

Of the 69 respondents who said they would get their genome sequenced and pay out of pocket, the most common maximum price point was $1,000, while the average maximum price point, based on a weighted average of responses, was $700 (see Chart 5 below).

Of those respondents who said they would not get their genome sequenced, the most common reason was that functional interpretation of the data is still poor. Other reasons, such as the fact that the technology is still new, the lack of clinical benefit, and potential anxiety generated by the results, also ranked highly (See Chart 6 below).

Respondents also believe that over the next five years, more genomes will be sequenced for medical reasons, but within five to 10 years more genomes will be sequenced for personal/consumer-driven reasons (see Chart 7 below).

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In Sequence's sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News has published a separate article looking at the survey results specifically focused on funding expectations.

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