Illumina Announces the Thousand Dollar Genome

January 14, 2014

By Bio-IT World Staff 

UPDATE: Check out our more detailed take on Illumina's new sequencers.

January 14, 2014 | At the annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco, Illumina CEO Jay Flatley announced the release of a new high-throughput sequencer, the HiSeq X, that he believes will finally deliver the famous "thousand dollar genome." The HiSeq X will improve the scan speed of the existing HiSeq 2500 by a factor of six, offering the ability to sequence five whole human genomes in a single day - compared to just one whole genome on the HiSeq 2500 in rapid mode. With a core consumable price of around $800 per genome, plus the associated hardware and miscellaneous costs of a sequencing run, Flatley believes that the HiSeq X will be able to deliver a whole genome for just under $1000, consistent with the calculations the National Human Genome Research Institute uses to estimate sequencing costs.

The HiSeq X10 is expressly for use by large institutions running massive genomic projects; a minimum of ten units will therefore be required for a single purchase, with a cost in the range of $1 million per sequencer. Flatley announced that three of these platforms have already been sold: one system to Macrogen, a South Korean genomics company; one to the Garvan Institute of Medical Research headquartered in Sydney, Australia; and a system of 14 units to the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, which will use the platform in its research into cancer genetics. Illumina expects to deliver the first of these systems in March of 2014. The processing speed of one such system will be enough to sequence 18,000 whole human genomes in a single year.

Flatley declared in his presentation that we are "entering the supersonic age of genomics."

At the same time, Flatley announced a powerful new sequencer for smaller genetic laboratories. The NextSeq will combine the processing power of a HiSeq 2500 with the size and portability of a MiSeq. In its high output configuration, the NextSeq will have an output of 120Gb, fast enough to sequence a whole human genome at 30X coverage in 30 hours - comparable to a HiSeq 2500 today. The NextSeq is already in full production and ready to ship; the cost is $250,000 a unit.

Bio-IT World will have more complete details on these and other announcements from Illumina tomorrow.