Monday, January 14, 2013

Illumina still holds the sequencing crown, for now

Keith Robinson at Omics! Omics! writes about last year's developments in genomics sequencing technologies, specifically about several advances brought to market by Illumina:
All of these should enable Illumina to maintain its dominance of the sequencing research market, while also helping set up the bigger payoff clinical applications such as those developed by Verinata.  The speed of HiSeq rapid mode should largely hold off Ion Proton (when it finally reaches a human genome per run), and may well make Complete Genomics technology nearly obsolete in the clinical space, given that "actionable medical result" and "needed stat" routinely show up in the same sentence.
The prediction of Complete Genomics' obsolescence, at least for clinical sequencing, is partly due to their business model of sequencing as a service.  In reality, rapid clinical sequencing can (should?) be performed by a number of distributed laboratories near the sites requesting analysis, i.e. local hospitals.  Labs like this are able to analyze sample in nearly real-time as compared to Complete Genomics, which still requests that samples be sent to a centralized service.  This is in addition to the challenges created by their odd fragmented read format and short (35bp) read lengths that make using any software except that provided by Complete Genomics difficult.  With a constantly sliding stock price, I don't think I'm the only one with questions about Complete Genomics' long-term value.