Genome sequencing for $5,000?

Complete Genomics is partnering with Broad Institute to conduct human sequencing studies of cancer.

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.—Complete Genomics Inc. has announced a collaboration with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard to conduct complete human genome sequencing pilot studies of glioblastoma and melanoma.

Based in Mountain View, Calif., Complete Genomics will use its DNA sequencing technology to sequence five genomes from samples of the two cancers provided by the Broad Institute, says Dr. Clifford Reid, CEO of Complete Genomics.

"The first genome sequenced will be a test case that has already been studied extensively by the scientific community," says Reid.

The other four genomes will be composed of two pairs—a tumor and a matched control—one to study glioblastoma and the other melanoma.
Complete Genomics has developed a novel high-throughput next-generation DNA sequencing technology, based on the work of co-founder Rade Drmanac, which it plans to offer in a service model to the scientific and pharma community later this year.

The company's goal is to sequence 1,000 human genomes in 2009, and 20,000 the following year. According to Reid, Complete Genomics' proof-of-concept sequencing data have been well received by the scientific community.

"We are now looking forward to demonstrating our technology's potential to reveal new avenues of medical research," says Reid.

Chad Nusbaum, co-director of the Broad Institute's Genome Sequencing and Analysis Program, says the institute is looking forward to being among the first to evaluate Complete Genomics' sequencing service.

"We are optimistic that these data will help us to more quickly identify genetic variants, such as cancer causing mutations and other rare germline events," says Nusbaum.

According to Reid, the collaboration marks the first time Complete Genomics is providing medical researchers with access to low-cost, large-scale human genome sequencing, and the partnership with the institute was a good match because both organizations are committed to exploring new avenues of genetic research.

"We will deliver sequencing as a service through our high-throughput genome center, enabling companies to have access to large-scale, complete human genomic data analysis without making major capital investments in instruments, facilities, personnel or high-performance computing resources," says Reid.

When Complete Genomics launches its commercial sequencing service in June, Reid says the company will be announcing more details on pricing that will that support a $5,000 genome sequencing price.

"While there have only been about 20 human genomes sequenced in the world to date, we plan to sequence 1,000 this year and 20,000 next year in our own commercial genome and data center," he says.

Reid adds that Complete Genomics' technology will permit genome sequencing of human populations, not just a few individuals, enabling greater genetic understanding than previously possible and opening the door for improved diagnoses, therapies and disease prevention. 

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