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Illumina Launches Two New Platforms at JP Morgan Conference; Claims $1,000 Genome

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) - Illumina President and CEO Jay Flatley today introduced two new sequencing platforms, new technological advances in the firm’s optics and flow cells, and reported preliminary fourth quarter figures for the firm.

He also said that the firm's technology can now produce a human genome for under $1,000, claiming to be the first to achieve this long sought-after goal.

The first platform he introduced is the NextSeq 500 System, which provides high-throughput performance on a desktop instrument. Flatley said that it contains 20 new innovations, including a new flow cell design and surface chemistry, and can sequence a whole human genome and up to 16 exomes in a single day. It also is flexible enough to switch to lower throughput sequencing when needed.

The NextSeq 500 System is designed to provide HiSeq performance in a MiSeq-size box, Flatley said. Its list price is $250,000, he noted, and the firm has already received its first order for the system. It makes use of a new two-channel SBS technology, which Illumina intends to apply to future platform development.

Flatley also introduced the HiSeq X Ten Sequencing System, a new high-throughput platform that he said can deliver more than five genomes per day versus one for the HiSeq 2500. In addition, Flatley said that the new system has made the $1,000 genome a reality.

He said Illumina is only selling this platform in orders of 10 HiSeq X systems at a minimum. It costs $10 million to order the 10 systems, and Flatley said customers can only do whole human genome sequencing on the system right now. However, he said during a breakout session that as the company works on automated workflows for the new system other applications could be introduced.

The firm has already received three orders for the HiSeq X Ten — from Macrogen, the Garvan Institute, and the Broad Institute, which he said ordered a 14-system configuration. Flatley noted that Illumina started reaching out to potential customers just two weeks ago, and though the company has already booked three orders, he has forecasted a total of around five customer sites for the platform this year. He added that there could be more, but supply issues could limit placements in 2014.

The new system makes use of patterned flow cells that contain billions of nanowells, new clustering chemistry, and new optics. It will begin shipping in March.

Flatley also announced that the firm is dropping the price of its MiSeq system to $99,000 and its MiSeq Dx system to $125,000 immediately.

Flatley also reported preliminary fourth quarter revenues of $387 million, representing 25 percent year-over-year growth and 9 percent sequential growth. It full-year sales were up 20 percent, and Flatley said he expects 2014 revenues to increase 15 percent to 17 percent over FY 2013.

He said Illumina received 300 MiSeq orders during Q4. The firm saw strong demand for the platform throughout Asia, but particularly in Japan, said Flatley.

He also noted that Illumina’s array business produced 10 percent revenue growth in Q4, driven partially by consumer applications.

Please see In Sequence for more detailed coverage of Illumina's presentation and the NextSeq 500 and HiSeq X Ten systems.