Since the official completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003, gene sequencing has gone completely unrecognized. The technology is faster, cheaper and more accurate, but for a long time the market has been dominated by a few big players. This is starting to change now, with these five relatively new companies bringing change and competition to the industry.
80-90% of the sequencing market is controlled by one company, Illumina. The short-read sequencing specialist, with annual sales from his $2.5 billion to his $4.5 billion, manufactures a wide variety of machines used in thousands of labs worldwide. But on the long-term side of things, Pacific Biosciences and Oxford Nanopore Technologies are arguably the best-known companies.
In 2018, Illumina made an offer to acquire PacBio to enter the long-lead space, but the deal was blocked by the Federal Trade Commission due to the large market share already owned by Illumina, and was closed in 2019. Abandoned. After acquiring Omniome and announcing the launch of the Onso short-read platform, we took our first steps into the short-read sequencing market.
Short read sequences are still the most commonly used type of sequence. Prices are still coming down, as Illumina announced his new line of NovaSeq X machines in September, which can sequence genomes for as little as $200, but the reality is that the technology will be available to many. remains out of reach for For example, Illumina machines are expensive and many samples must be sequenced to keep the price down. This can be difficult for small labs or labs in developing countries with limited budgets.
Over the past decade, the expiration of several of Illumina’s key patents in 2020, and others soon, has inspired the formation of many new sequencing companies. In a highly competitive field that is difficult to succeed in, these five companies are vying to bring their own innovative technologies to market and challenge the dominance of Illumina and other market leaders.
1. Element Biosciences: Established: 2017
Headquarters: Greater San Diego Area, USA
Founded in 2017 by current CEO Molly He and two former colleagues at Illumina, Element is focused on making sequencing more decentralized and democratized. The company has created a new disruptive sequencing platform in less than five years. Science’s founders leveraged their expertise in reagent design to enable their machines to produce higher quality data at lower prices than Illumina.
The company closed a $276 million Series C funding round last summer, raising a total of over $400 million. In June he began shipping AVITI system machines to customers.
Consistent with the company’s mission to make sequencing more accessible and affordable, they guarantee that the price of reagents will not increase over the life of the AVITI instrument. It also says the cost of single-cell sequencing is the lowest in the industry.
Element machines are primarily focused on short-read sequencing, but the company recently announced the launch of the LoopSeq long-read sequencing kit. LoopSeq sequencing chemistry provides synthetic long-read capability (up to 5kb) on the AVITI short-read sequencer.
2. Ultima Genomics: Established: 2016
Ultima Genomics officially launched in 2016, but announced earlier this year that it had exited stealth mode and developed a high-throughput, low-cost sequencing platform that could deliver genomes for as little as $100. Illumina and other players in the industry.
The company has raised $600 million in stealth mode from investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, and Khosla Ventures, and is now using the money to further develop its platform.
The sequencing process used by Illumina involves various steps, such as splitting the DNA into single strands, splitting these into smaller pieces, loading these into flow cells, and placing them in a sequencing machine. . Ultima has developed a faster and cheaper process that speeds up how reagents are added to the machine and how DNA is prepared and read while maintaining accuracy.
Since going public in May, Ultima has announced several new partnerships and collaborations. For example, the company will work with his Regeneron to develop and test Ultima’s second-generation sequencing platform, the successor to its first machine, the UG100. It will also partner with cancer screening and diagnostics expert Exact Sciences to co-develop cheaper genetic tests and screens.
3. Singular Genomics: Established: 2016
Headquarters: Greater San Diego Area, USA
Singular Genomics was founded in 2016 by Drew Spaventa, Eli Glezer, and David Barker. The company has emerged from stealth mode by listing on his Nasdaq in May 2021, raising about $258 million from his big IPO.
The company has developed the G4 benchtop sequencer and associated kits targeting the next-generation sequencing market. Using sequencing-by-synthesis, in 19 hours he could output four whole genomes. Like other companies on this list, they aim for quick, economical, and accurate sequencing for their customers.
Singular has partnered with various companies including New England Biolabs, Lexogen, Dovetail Genomics, Watchmaker Genomics and Twist Biosciences to help prepare library preparation and target enrichment kits for the G4 machine. In a recent statement, the company said he expects to start shipping G4 machines by the end of the year.
The IPO funding will also help develop Singular’s second machine, PX, which combines single-cell analysis, spatial analysis, genomics and proteomics in a single instrument, due to launch in 2023.
4. 10X Genomics: Established: 2012
Headquarters: Pleasanton, USA
One of the older companies on the list, 10x Genomics, was founded in 2012 by Serge Saxonov (R&D director at 23andMe), Ben Hindson and Kevin Ness and is headquartered in Pleasanton, CA. US, EU, Asia.
10x has three main technologies: Chromium, Visium and Xenium. There are three of his Chromium machines that use different versions of the company’s single-cell sequencing technology. The Xenium machine enables in-situ profiling of RNA targets, and the Visium machine combines histology and genomics to enable spatial transcriptomics analysis.
10x launched on Nasdaq in 2019, raising over $390 million in funding. This is well above his projected $100 million. The company’s 2021 earnings were $490.5 million, significantly higher than the previous year’s sales.
The founder of 10x worked at Quantalife prior to its acquisition by Bio-Rad in 2011. Rad also asserted patent infringement in a later lawsuit. The controversy continues until 2020, when 10x loses its appeal against a court order to pay Bio-Rad his $24 million in damages and a royalty on his 15% of sales, and the two companies contend. settled to A new patent dispute is currently underway between 10x and NanoString over the patent behind 10x’s Visium Spatial system.
5. MGI Tech: 2016
Headquarters: Founded: Shenzhen, China
MGI was founded in China in 2016 as a subsidiary of BGI Group (formerly Beijing Genome Institute). Its focus is the creation of high-throughput gene sequencing and laboratory automation systems for the Life Science and Healthcare industries.
In 2013, BGI Group acquired Complete Genomics, now based in San Jose, CA, and became part of MGI in 2018. Complete Genomics developed its own DNA nanoball-based sequencing platform and sequenced the first genome in 2009.
MGI has also developed a low-cost sequencing machine based on similar DNA nanoball sequencing technology. It uses rolling circle replication to amplify small pieces of DNA into so-called nanoballs. Complementary fluorescent nucleotides bind to the bases and are used to determine the sequence. After acquiring Complete Genomics, MGI was able to improve this process even further by combining and improving the technologies of both companies.
This year, Complete Genomics launched a new sequencer, DNBSEQ-G400*, in the US in August, with three more machines designed for low- to ultra-high-throughput labs due to launch next year. In September, MGI listed on the Shanghai STAR Market with his $518 million IPO.
Helen Albert is senior editor and freelance science journalist at Inside Precision Medicine. Before she went freelance, she was editor-in-chief of She Labiotech, a Berlin-based English-language digital publication focused on the European biotech industry. Before she moved to Germany, she worked in London for various publications focused on science and health. She was the editor of The Biochemist magazine and blog, while she worked as a senior at Springer Nature’s medwireNews. She has contributed to New Scientist, Chemistry World, Biodesigned, The BMJ, Forbes, Science Business, Cosmos magazine, and her GEN.Helen is After earning degrees in genetics and anthropology and working at the Sanger Institute in Cambridge early in his career, he decided to turn to journalism.