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Longas Technologies Launches, Offering 'Virtual Long Read' Library Prep

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Longas Technologies has emerged from stealth mode with undisclosed investment from Australia's Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF) as well as its founders and directors.

The Sydney-based firm has developed Morphoseq, a "virtual long read" library preparation technology that computationally increases read length on short read next-generation sequencing platforms. The firm said in a statement that it has "an extensive portfolio of international patent filings" covering the technology.

"Longas is an exciting opportunity that could help transform the research, epidemiology and clinical genomics fields," Stephen Thompson, chairman of Longas and managing director at Brandon Capital, said in a statement. Brandon Capital is the venture capital firm that runs the MCRF. "Its technology solves a key problem in NGS and promises to have an important impact within the NGS market, a market that is expected to grow from $5.7 billion last year to $20 billion by 2025," he added.

Longas, a spinout from the ithree institute at University of Technology Sydney, was founded by professors Aaron Darling, who is also the firm's CSO; Catherine Burke; and Ian Charles, who is now director of the Quadram Institute in the UK.

The firm is led by CEO Nick McCooke, a genomics industry veteran who led Solexa prior to that firm being acquired by Illumina. Longas said he would "lead commercialization and industry partnering."

"As its speed and accuracy increases, and cost reduces, DNA sequencing is having a massive impact in a wide number of fields," McCooke said. "There is an expanding opportunity for technologies that work in tandem with the main sequencing platforms, improving key aspects of their performance."