IGF 2022: DeciBio Highlights – Illumina delivers
San Diego, CA October 3, 2022 – Backed by an impressive line-up of speakers that included President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Frances Arnold and Chris Evert, Illumina launched a new line of products at its inaugural Illumina Genomics Forum (IGF) last week. The marquis products were the NovaSeq X, and its underlying sequencing-by-synthesis (SBS) chemistry, XLeap-SBS (formerly known as Chemistry X). The specifications can be found here. Most notably, the platform will deliver a $200 genome (list price, with discounts expected for high volume centers).
Following the announcement, we conducted a survey with 30 NGS users to gauge their level of excitement. The results were overwhelmingly positive, as outlined in the dashboard below.
At the conference, we also discussed the impact that these announcements are expected to have on various competitors, and how a select list of 10 NGS players are perceived. We summarized feedback from these discussions in the (well-established) F1 framework below. Like F1 constructors, sequencing companies are undoubtedly performing at the highest level!
In addition, the feedback from the floor at IGF (and on 3 expert calls) are highlighted below. Please note that some “Illumina-bias” may be present in the quotes below, given that these discussions were largely held at the forum.
Illumina - Mercedes
“… Illumina did what they had to do [on Thursday]. I was expecting a $200-300 genome, so I’m happy that they land at the bottom of the range. I’d like to learn more about the long read chemistry. They keep insisting that it is not synthetic long reads, so I’m eager to see if there is a catch, as I don’t see how the reads may be native long reads …”
ThermoFisher - Scuderia Ferarri
“… ThermoFisher is taciturn at conferences, but in the background, they deliver good products that inform [cancer] patient care. You hear many more people talk about them in Europe than you do in the U.S. Many applications are shifting to higher throughput though [even in price-conscious Europe], with users now talking about a clinical WES in oncology, so it will get harder for them to compete at a reasonable cost …”
Oxford Nanopore - Oracle Red Bull
“… I wonder how Illumina’s long read announcements will affect Oxford Nanopore. You can apparently get reads up to 30 kb with Infinity, with an announced N50 of 6-7 kb. So as Oxford’s accuracy continues to improve, Illumina’s read length continues to go up …”
MGI - Alfa Romeo
“… People don’t talk about MGI enough. That’s the company to watch. We used to have a box, and were getting Illumina-quality exomes at ½ the price …”
Element Biosciences- Scuderia AlphaTauri
“… The skeleton meme they tweeted was witty, but the XLeap will be available soon enough for us, so we’ll definitely wait, as we don’t want to buy a box on the premise that is saves us a year – it would take that much time for us to validate the box and assays before we’re up an running …”
Singular Genomics - BWT Alpine
“… Singular has a lot of work ahead. They seem committed to quality and customer experience in the first year, and it is critical to nail your first 50 customers, but the space is moving fast …”
Ultima Genomics - Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant
“… It’s hard to justify retooling your lab to purchase an unproven box that can get you a $100 genome [without library prep and 2nd analysis] when you can purchase a battle tested Illumina instrument that delivers what will likely be a $150 genome. […] Ultima definitely put pressure on Illumina to push price down, so I’m grateful for their indirect contribution to my lab …”
PacBio - Haas
“… I just bought a PacBio instrument, as I was sold on their accuracy, but running costs will be an issue day to day …”
Agilent - McLaren
“… We use many Agilent products as part of our NGS workflow, but they are complementary to Illumina rather than competing. The more sequencers are on the market, the happier they are selling fragment analyzers …”
QIAGEN - Williams
“… Maybe QIAGEN can take another shot at owning a sequencer, and buy [one of these start-ups] …”
Survey method: We interviewed 30 NGS users using our expert platform Dexter. 3 survey respondents were interviewed at IGF in person.
Author: Stephane Budel, Partner at DeciBio Consulting, LLC
Connect with Stephane Budel on Linkedin
Disclaimer: Companies listed above may be DeciBio clients and / or customers