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We attended the AGBT main conference this week. At a high level, we made several observations largely shared by attendees:
We made multiple additional observations about the conference:
We conducted an in-person survey with 75 AGBT attendees, asking them to highlight three exciting themes, companies, technologies or talks from this year’s conference. We allocated 3 points to their first answer, 2 points to the second, and 1 point to the third. We asked attendees to not vote for their own talk / company.
Themes and companies clearly overlapped, and we did not attempt to deconvolute the data in the Tableau tool at the end of this post. The top 3 themes were highlighted above; the top 3 companies were:
Single cell genomics was mentioned by ~40% of attendees in our survey as the clear theme of this year’s conference. This figure doesn’t include the additional 30% of attendees who mentioned 10X Genomics, though there was some overlap.
Following its first place in our 2015 review and 2016 review, 10X Genomics reclaimed its title as the top company in our survey, driven by its leading presence in single cell genomics. The company announced three new kits for a variety of applications, including one similar to CITE-seq. On the linked-read side, a few posters demonstrated the power of the technology for structural variant analysis, and Ami Bhatt’s talk on microbiome assembly demonstrated clear utility for metagenomics.
NanoString was the second most cited company, a very impressive outcome considering that none of the products highlighted at the conference have fully launched commercially! Most respondents (~80%) mentioned digital spatial profiling, which the company offers as a service (~30 current customers), and others (20%) mentioned Hyb & Seq, its novel sequencing solution in development (expected full commercial launch in 2020).
We’ve been bullish on Oxford Nanopore since they launched their 9.4 chemistry in October 2016. Many exciting talks and posters featured the technology this year, with many citing Ken McGrath’s talk as impressive (and entertaining).
Attendees highlighted that advances in (organic and synthetic) long read technologies enabled finer analysis of structural variation, including for cancer. We expect the interest in structural variation to accelerate, as it has been neglected due to some limitations of short read technologies that can now be addressed. Oxford Nanopore appears particularly well-positioned to benefit from this trend. We also note that while Brenda Oppert understandably dove into the data quickly rather than emphasizing the novelty of the underlying Dovetail technology, which appears to have potential to study structural variants from FFPE samples; this could represent a significant market opportunity.
Twist was this year’s gold sponsor. The company manufactures an impressive 3M oligos per day. Per day! We estimate it to be ~50x more than IDT, the leading oligo manufacturer from a market perspective. Many attendees mentioned being relatively unfamiliar with the company’s offering until after the workshop.
Again, attendees highlighted how advances in long read technologies significantly improved our ability to study microbial ecosystems. We expect the topic to continue to gain significant traction, especially on the microbiome side.
Illumina made its iSeq 100 announcement at JP Morgan. While they provided additional color commentary, no significant announcements were made at the conference, except for the release of the NovaSeq S1 chip. Given its dominance in the genomics space, perhaps Illumina is simply giving space for others to shine.
Cellular Indexing of Transcriptomes and Epitopes by sequencing (CITE-seq) uses oligonucleotide-labeled antibodies to integrate cellular protein and transcriptome measurements in a single-cell readout. More information can be found here.
As a testament to the richness of the conference and the genomics space, 1/3 of attendee votes provided answers outside of the above top 10 list. Some highlights:
Please refer to this interactive dashboard for additional information on attendees’ votes.
Disclaimer: Companies listed above may be DeciBio clients and/or customers
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