Now the company announced this new entry it its NGS sequenchers: the Ion S5.
The Ion S5 looks similar to the Ion Proton and place as compromise solution between the Proton and the PGM machines. The new machine will be available in two version, standard and XL, with the XL version having more computational power.
The Ion S5 works with three different sequencing chips. As reported in the official brochure, the 3 new chips are named Ion 520, resembling the PGM 318 chip with up to 1 Gb throughput; Ion 530, up to 4 Gb; and Ion 540, similar to the Proton PI chip with 15 Gb.
The idea is clearly to offer a machine that combines the use of fast and low cost gene panels with the ability to deliver human exomes and RNA-Seq.
In this way the machine became an interesting choice to perform both cost-effective diagnostic panels based on the AmpliSeq technology, but maintaining also a research flavor with exome sequencing and counting applications.
The sequencing kits have been reconfigured and are now sold as prepacked cartridges and bottles that combines with a barcode scan system to make the use simpler and easier. Ideally the new system have to be integrated with the Ion Chef system for automated template preparation and chip loading. Moreover, thank to a recent upgrade to eh software, this system will also prepare AmpliSeq libraries. In this way all your diagnostic (or research) AmpliSeq panels could be prepared in automated fashion from DNA to ready-to-sequence chip with minimal hand-on time, increasing standardization and performances.
It has been clear in the past few years that where Ion technology deliver its best, and has more commercial opprtunities, is on fast and low cost targeted sequence with an expanding range of solution available in terms of diagnostic gene panels and targeted panel for cancer research. Also this new machine go in this direction, as it seems clearly aimed at clinical applications.
With a price tag of $65K ($150K for the XL model) the Ion S5 sequencher is a new interesting competitor in the field!