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Illumina Delays Launch of 'Harmonia' Sequencing Module for iScan System

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – An Illumina official said today that the company has pushed back the expected launch of the "Harmonia" sequencing module for its iScan array system to the second quarter of 2010.

The module, originally scheduled for launch this year, combines the sequencing chemistry of the company’s Genome Analyzer with the iScan Reader of its iScan array system.

In a presentation at the UBS Global Life Sciences Conference today, Illumina CEO Jay Flatley said that the company decided to push back the launch date in order to improve the performance specifications of the system.

In particular, Flatley said that rapid advancements in the capabilities of the GA were behind the delay of Harmonia.

According to the new performance specifications, the iScan sequencing module will generate more than 20 gigabases of sequence data per run and generate 2 x 75-base paired-end reads — up from initial expectations of 3 gigabases of data per run and a read length of 2 x 50 bases.

In July, Leerink Swann analyst cited the impending launch of the Harmonia among several reasons for raising his valuation on Illumina's stock to $48-$55 from his previous range of $37-$41, citing the system's lower cost compared to the Genome Analyzer and compatibility with existing array platforms.

"Along with stimulus funding, we think Harmonia could help expand the [next-generation sequencing] market towards 2,000 systems globally, up from our estimate of 900 currently," Ro wrote in a research note at the time.

— Edward Winnick and Julia Karow contributed reporting for this article from the UBS Global Life Sciences Conference.