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Illumina Developing Avantome Sequencing for Clinical Applications

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By Julia Karow

Illumina is developing its Avantome sequencing technology for clinical applications and eventually plans to obtain 510(k) clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration for the platform it plans to launch, according to the company's CEO.

During the firm's R&D day for investors and analysts at its Hayward, Calif., site earlier this month, Illumina President and CEO Jay Flatley said that the company believes sequencing will increasingly be used in clinical screening, "and that is where we see the Avantome technology fitting into our product portfolio in the future."

Flatley provided no timeline for launching a platform based on the Avantome technology, but said that Illumina plans to introduce it first as a research-use-only product that could be used for clinical research.

"Over time, we will probably look to move that into a 510(k) status, but that will take some considerable time after the initial product launch," he said during the event, which was webcast.

The technology, which Illumina acquired in 2008 for up to $60 million (see In Sequence 7/29/2008), will be "well positioned for clinical markets," he explained, because of its fast turnaround time, read lengths similar to Sanger sequencing, and "lower capital acquisition costs" compared to other next-gen platforms.

Avantome was co-founded by Mostafa Ronaghi, one of the inventors of pyrosequencing, who joined Illumina following the acquisition.

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