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Singular Genomics Expands Early-Access Program for New DNA Sequencing Instrument

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This story has been corrected to reflect that Fate Therapeutics and Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute were beta testing partners, not early-access partners.

NEW YORK – Singular Genomics, an impending entrant into the DNA sequencing market, is expanding the early-access program for its G4 sequencer ahead of the instrument's commercial shipment in 2022.

On a conference call with investors following the release of the company's third quarter operating results — its first full quarter as a public company — Singular officials shared some results from existing G4 early-access partners and outlined the program's growth.

The G4 employs a sequencing-by-synthesis chemistry and aims to improve speed, flexibility, and scale in the benchtop sequencer category.

Using the G4 for spatial transcriptomics, a lab at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center achieved average read counts of 136 million per flow cell and accuracy of 99.6 percent to 99.7 percent using targeted sequencing panels and 100 cycle kits. In a follow-up email, Singular said the figures provided were for raw read accuracy.

CEO Drew Spaventa did not disclose the other early-access partners, but said that one of them achieved average read counts of 150 million per flow cell and accuracy of up to 99.8 percent, while the other obtained 170 million reads per flow cell and also accuracy of 99.8 percent. The first site used targeted sequencing panels using 150 cycle kits while the second used targeted panels and exome libraries that used 200 cycle kits.

Separately, in an earlier beta pilot program, labs at Fate Therapeutics and Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute had been the first external third parties to evaluate the G4.

"In short, these results are in line with our early-access program objectives at this stage and position us for our next step, commercial launch," Spaventa said. "We intend to further advance performance for [our] commercial offering and are pleased with the consistent improvement demonstrated so far with read length, read count, and accuracy."

Singular has added three additional early-access partners, he said, but did not name them.

The firm also provided a minor update on development of its PX Integrated Solution, a sequencing instrument designed for multiomics, including single-cell and spatial applications.

San Diego-based Singular was founded in 2016 and went public in May, raising $237.1 million in net proceeds.

Its G4 sequencer is designed to be used with established sample preparation and bioinformatics technologies, offering an alternative to current next-generation sequencing providers, namely Illumina, which controls the vast majority of the US market.

The benchtop instrument could have run times ranging from five to 16 hours and the company is aiming for cycle times to be two to three times faster than what's on the market today. Moreover, multiplexing will be built into the instrument, with each G4 able to run four independent flow cells, each with four independent lanes.

That could enable researchers to sequence four human genomes in less than 16 hours, Spaventa said.

Singular's early-access program saw prototype instruments placed in and run by external labs. Users were selected "based on their ability to demonstrate the power and utility of the G4 system across a number of applications such as immunology, oncology, and biomedical research, and their ability to scale as a potential customer," Spaventa said.

"Overall, we are encouraged by the continued progress ahead of the G4 launch, and remain confident with the growth trajectory going forward," JP Morgan analyst Tycho Peterson wrote in his note to investors.

Spaventa said Singular remains on track to unveil the G4 by the end of the year and ship instruments in the first half of 2022. The firm will soon announce pricing and specs for its initial instrument and consumables, he said, and publish a technical report and furnish datasets to prospective customers.

He noted that the company is planning to provide a "premium customer experience" and is building its team of sales, field service, and marketing staff.

The other instrument, the PX Integrated Solution, will "leverage the same novel sequencing engine as the G4," Spaventa said. "Much of the investment to date supports both systems."

Singular expects to begin a PX early-access program in 2022, followed by a commercial launch in 2023.

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