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Life Tech Inks Deal with Toronto Hospital to Co-develop Ion Proton Workflows

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto has launched a new Centre for Genetic Medicine and plans to install four of Life Technologies' Ion Proton machines.

The hospital and Life Tech will collaborate on clinical sequencing studies and will co-develop sequencing workflows and protocols for the Ion Proton with a long-term goal of sequencing 10,000 pediatric genomes per year.

The Ion Proton is Life Tech's semiconductor-based benchtop instrument that promises to sequence a whole human genome in just hours for $1,000. Currently, the first chip, which is tailored for exome sequencing, is available only for early-access customers and will be made commercially available by the end of the third quarter. The second chip, which will enable whole genomes, will be available by the end of the year, Life Tech has said.

The first clinical sequencing research project undertaken by the hospital and Life Tech will focus on understanding the genetics of autism.

"We are very excited to work with Life Technologies to enhance our sequencing capabilities, such that 'genomic surveillance' may soon become the first line of investigation in all clinical research studies ongoing at our institution," Stephen Scherer, co-director of the Centre for Genetic Medicine and head of the Center for Applied Genomics at SickKids, said in a statement.