Thursday, 28 January 2016

Illumina get small with new miniSeq and FireFlight

After bullying the NGS market a couple of years ago with its new large sequencing platforms able to deliver thousands of human genomes per year, now Illumina decided to further expand its offer with also small solutions.

Few days ago at JP Morgan the company revealed a new benchtop sequencer aiming at small labs and clinical application based on gene panels. The new machine, called miniSeq, can produce up to 8 Gb per run with 25M reads, costs "only" ~50k$ and promise a cost per run between $200 and $300.
With this move Illumina try to challenge Ion Torrent PGM and the Thermo Fisher good position in the area of small, rapid an cheap sequencing. The new sequencer is based on the two-color technology developed for the NextSeq and HiSeq X sequencers allowing to reduce machine cost and speed up the sequencing runs.

Look how it compares to the existing Illumina benchtop sequencers:

In its try to fill all the space in the market Illumina has also annunced an even smaller sequencer, developed under the name of "project FireFlight". The details released included a 1.2Gb output, one "colour" SBS and patterned flowcells. It also has a digital fluidics library prep module. The machine alone might cost just $15,000, with under $200 cost per run. The new machine will be based on semiconductor technology with CMOS sensor collecting light data from multiple simultaneous reactions. Project Firefly will be developed through 2016 and expect to deliver in 2017.

More details and interesting consideration have been provided on the Illumina website and other omics blogs, like CoreGenomics and OmicsOmics.

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