NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) - The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute has returned five SOLiD sequencing systems that Applied Biosystems had placed at the institute a year ago, GenomeWeb Daily News has learned. The systems were returned to Life Technologies, the new firm formed by the recent merger of ABI and Invitrogen.
Jason Liu, senior director of SOLiD Commercial Operations at Life Technologies, told GWDN’s sister publication In Sequence last week that the instruments were “sales demonstration units” that ABI had placed at the Sanger Institute for a scientific collaboration on small cell lung cancer in December 2007.
In May of this year, ABI said that scientists were using the five instruments to sequence the genomes of a small cell lung cancer cell line and a non-cancerous cell line to comprehensively cover genomic variations in both cell lines.
The return of its SOLiD sequencers comes about a month after the Sanger Institute said that it had purchased 11 additional Illumina Genome Analyzer sequencers, adding to 26 Illumina units already on site.
At the time, Julian Parkhill, director of sequencing at the Sanger Institute, told In Sequence that it was easier and less costly to add Illumina sequencers to the institute’s existing pipeline, and that the decision was not a verdict on the merit of the SOLiD or the Genome Analyzer.
"The Sanger Institute looked carefully at all available machines for its recent sequencing expansion and how they might fit with its pipelines for sequence production," Parkhill told In Sequence via e-mail today. "For these purposes, the Institute sought the minimal additional commitment in molecular biology and informatics over its existing large-scale capillary platforms."
He added that the institute will continue to review next-gen sequencing platforms.
During a conference call in October, an ABI official revealed that the company has been using the placement of SOLiD instruments with potential customers as a sales strategy.
The SOLiD units returned from the Sanger Institute “will be re-deployed into other strategic accounts within the European region,” according to Liu.