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Ion Torrent to Award Two PGM Sequencers Under European Grant Program; Places Instrument at Broad

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By Julia Karow

Ion Torrent Systems said last week that it plans to award two of its soon-to-be-launched Personal Genome Machine sequencers to scientists in Europe under a second round of its grant program.

In addition, the company has placed at least one instrument at the Broad Institute, one of its collaborators, In Sequence has learned.

The company recently awarded a sequencer to a research team at Massachusetts General Hospital and at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole under its first grant program (IS 5/4/2010). These teams will receive their instruments later this year, when Ion Torrent launches the platform commercially.

Under the European grant program, Ion Torrent plans to award one sequencer to an applicant whose proposal addresses human health, and another to a project that focuses on environmental, ecological, or evolutionary issues.

Researchers currently residing in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland or the UK can submit their proposals by Sept. 15, and the two winners will be notified no later than Dec. 1.

The winners will receive their instruments after the commercial launch of the platform later this year, along with a perpetual license to DNAStar's SeqMan NGen assembly software and CLC Bio's Genomics Workbench bioinformatics software.

The proposals will be judged by Ion Torrent founder, chairman, and CEO Jonathan Rothberg; Mathias Uhlen, a professor of microbiology at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm who co-developed pyrosequencing; George Church, a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School; and Svante Pääbo, director of the department of evolutionary genetics at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.

In the meantime, Ion Torrent has been working towards the commercial launch of its sequencing system, and has placed at least one instrument at the Broad Institute, one of its collaborators.

A company spokesperson declined to comment on the placement or whether Ion Torrent has put sequencers in any other labs.

In a talk earlier this year, Rothberg said the firm is collaborating with the Broad Institute and the Stanford Genome Technology Center.

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