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WEDNESDAY, February 01, 2023
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Illumina launches faster and cheaper genomic sequencing platform in Thailand

Illumina launches faster and cheaper genomic sequencing platform in Thailand

MONDAY, October 17, 2022

Illumina, a US-based manufacturer of equipment used to analyse genetic variations and biological functions, has unveiled a new genome sequencing platform – the NovaSeqX series.

Illumina, a US-based manufacturer of equipment used to analyse genetic variations and biological functions, has unveiled a new genome sequencing platform – the NovaSeqX series.

The new platform is a significant improvement on the previous models in terms of speed, cost and protection of the environment, Illumina’s top executive for Thai and Asia-Pacific markets said.

Robert McBride, senior director of sales for Asia Pacific and Japan, said in an interview that the new platform will better serve cancer patients, reproductive healthcare patients and screening of premature babies. This is because the new platform reduces the turnaround time of DNA sequencing from 48 hours to just 24 hours, making diagnostics faster.

Illumina launches faster and cheaper genomic sequencing platform in Thailand

The NovaSeqX series will also reduce the cost of genome sequencing to just US$200-$300 per person, down from $600. This does not include processing, interpretation and counselling costs.

The new platform delivers more than 20,000 whole genomes of high-resolution optics and ultra-high density flow cells per year, which is 2.5 times greater throughput than the previous model.

According to McBride, innovations over the several decades have driven down the cost of sequencing exponentially, from $3 billion in the original Human Genome Project in 1990 to $100 million in 2001.

With technology becoming even cheaper, healthcare services are becoming more widely accessible, he said. Besides, he said, the new platform is more environmentally friendly as it cuts down packaging waste by 90 per cent, plastic usage by 50 per cent, and a 500-tonne saving in dry ice per year.

Illumina launches faster and cheaper genomic sequencing platform in Thailand

McBride said Illumina’s mission is to improve human health by unlocking the power of genomic technology in identifying genetic diseases and disorders, drug development, personalised medicines, precision therapy and pandemic preparedness.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Illumina partnered with more than 120 labs worldwide to sequence 75 to 80 per cent of coronavirus genomes in 2020.

Illumina established a presence in Thailand more than 18 years ago, especially in the reproductive health industry for DNA and next-generation sequencing. Next Generation Genomic Co Ltd (NGG Thailand) is one of the companies that rely on Illumina for invitro fertilisation testing, pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS) and testing the foetus for genetic diseases. McBride said testing for genetic diseases among babies is critical because they can be treated in time. Genomics has also proved to be effective in the diagnostics and treatment of cancer.

He said genomic technology can also help find diseases in agriculture and livestock to help improve yields.

Illumina launches faster and cheaper genomic sequencing platform in Thailand

McBride said the key challenge now is finding genome sequencing data analysts and scientists, as well as safeguarding public health information. He said in the Asia-Pacific region, Australia has 400,000 scientists and genetic councillors, while Japan only has 160,000. Figures of scientists in Thailand are still unavailable.

He added that there are just three or four large companies that specialise in DNA sequencing, with Illumina holding an 80-per-cent share of the global market.

Illumina launches faster and cheaper genomic sequencing platform in Thailand

According to Brandessence Market Research, the global genome sequencing market was valued at $13.58 billion last year and is expected to hit $46.43 billion marking a 19.2 per cent growth by 2028.

Illumina’s annual revenue last year came in at $4.5 billion. Its newest NovaSeq X series provides extraordinary sequencing power through a single platform to fuel data-intensive applications like whole-genome sequencing, single-cell sequencing and multi-omics. With numerous technical innovations, it enables maximum throughput and accuracy for genomics scientists.

The technology also accelerates genomic discovery and clinical insights to understand disease, its impacts on human lives and ultimately provide effective treatment.

Illumina launches faster and cheaper genomic sequencing platform in Thailand

The highlights of the NovaSeq X series include:

• A fundamentally new sequencing by synthesis (SBS) chemistry, engineered for 2x higher speed and accuracy.

• Highest resolution optics and ultra-high density flow cells, delivering 2.5x greater throughput while driving down sequencing costs.

• Integration of onboard Bio-IT with ORA compression, enabling highly accurate and fully automated secondary analysis with 5x loss-less data compression.

• 15 new thermostable reagents, supporting ambient-temperature shipping, eliminating the need for dry ice and reducing waste.

To achieve peak performance and minimise interruptions, Illumina also has a support team on standby comprising scientists and experts. Technical support is available via phone five days a week or online support 24/7.

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