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Illumina Launches Grant Program for MiSeq; Hopes to Expand Reach in Untapped Markets


Illumina is sponsoring a contest that will provide a free MiSeq for projects that would be best tackled with next-generation sequencing on the desktop system.

The company will award three winners, each of whom will receive one MiSeq, 10 sequencing reagent kits, either Nextera DNA sample prep kits or TruSeq custom amplicon kits, BaseSpace cloud computing analysis and 1 terabyte of storage, and the bioinformatics tool Avadis NGS. The total package is valued at around $200,000.

A panel of Illumina scientists will evaluate grant applications for scientific merit, originality, and how well the project fits with MiSeq.

Peter Fromen, Illumina's senior director of genomic applications, told In Sequence that the contest is open to anyone — whether from academia, government, or commercial organizations from around the world. Applicants could run the range from next-gen sequencing novices to current Illumina customers or users of other next-gen platforms, he said.

Projects can be from any scientific field, and can be research use only, translational, or clinical, Fromen said.

The grant is also a way for Illumina to extend its reach into untapped markets, expanding its market to potential customers who do not currently use next-gen sequencing but may be looking to convert, such as users of capillary electrophoresis instruments, or even RT-PCR users who want to move from analyzing single amplicons to maybe multiplexed amplicon resequencing, Fromen said.

The microbiology field in particular is an area Illumina is looking to expand into with the MiSeq, said Fromen.

"Penetrating the microbiology market is a focus of ours," he said. "The HiSeq is a bit of overkill for that," he said, but the MiSeq's "throughput per run and turnaround time lines up better to applications in the microbiology market."

Applications are due Oct. 15 and the awardees will be announced at the annual American Society for Human Genetics meeting in November. Further information is available here.