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Ultima Genomics, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Ink Development Agreement

NEW YORK – Sequencing startup Ultima Genomics said on Tuesday that it will receive an undisclosed investment from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals as the companies collaborate to further develop and test Ultima's second-generation sequencing platform.

Regeneron is already part of the early-access program for Ultima's UG100 sequencer, and will now purchase an undisclosed amount of Ultima shares, the companies said.

"Regeneron and Ultima share a common goal of using science to improve human health," John Overton, VP and chief of sequencing and lab operations at the Regeneron Genetics Center, said in a statement.

"We at the RGC are keenly interested in the development of technologies that streamline the drug discovery and development process," Overton added. "The high cost of next-generation sequencing constrains the production of genomic information — a significant bottleneck for life sciences research. With this agreement, we hope to contribute to an affordable and scalable solution that enables the rapid advance of genomic sciences, and in turn, important medicines for patients in need."

Ultima emerged from stealth mode in May, revealing its development of a high-throughput sequencing platform that it claims will deliver sequencing data at $1 per Gb or less. The UG100 is slated for commercial launch in early 2023. Ultima has raised a total of approximately $600 million.

"While we will soon be launching our first instrument platform, the UG100, we are already hard at work developing our second platform to provide even lower cost and greater scale," Ultima CEO and Cofounder Gilad Almogy said in a statement. "We are excited to collaborate with Regeneron on this project and look forward to providing tools with the ever-increasing capability to our customers."

RGC has a long history of partnering with other companies and researchers in pursuit of large-scale genomic analyses. For example, in 2017, Regeneron partnered with GSK, formerly known as GlaxoSmithKline, to sequence the entire UK Biobank. In 2020, the firm partnered with UCLA Health on whole-exome sequencing for 150,000 patients.