PacBio to launch new gene-sequencing systems

PacBio headquarters

PacBio to launch new gene-sequencing systems

By Deena Beasley

Oct 25 (Reuters) – Gene-sequencing company Pacific BioSciences of California Inc. (PACB.O) on Tuesday announced the launch of a new, more affordable, higher-throughput “long-read” sequencer as well as customer testing of its first “short-read” sequencer aimed at emerging markets such as multi-cancer early detection.

The Menlo, California-based company said its new Revio long-read sequencing system, with a list price of $779,000, offers a 15-fold increase in throughput, enabling customers to sequence up to 1,300 human whole genomes per year for less than $1,000 per genome.

PacBio said its trademark HiFi technology – used for large studies in human genetics, cancer research, agricultural genomics, and more – looks at 20,000 base pairs of DNA at a time.

“By being able to see more of the genome, you can uncover more answers,” PacBio Chief Executive Officer Christian Henry told Reuters.

The company is also entering the market for “short-read” sequencing with external beta testing of its Onso system.

Onso is expected to be available for ordering and shipping in the first half of 2023, when it would compete with short-read systems sold by sequencing giant Illumina Inc. (ILMN.O).

Illumina has been under fire from antitrust regulators in the United States and Europe after moving ahead last year with the $7.1 billion purchase of its former subsidiary Grail. Grail and several other companies are developing tests, using Illumina’s sequencing systems, to detect cancer by looking for fragments of cancer DNA in a patient’s blood.

“What you’re looking for in those diagnostic tests are needles in a haystack. You’re trying to find that one mutated piece of DNA that could be an indication of having early cancer,” Henry said.

Reporting by Deena Beasley in Los Angeles Editing by Matthew Lewis

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Source: Reuters