In the first in-depth interview with the press since the FDA’s letter, 23andMe spokesperson Catherine Afarian told VentureBeat that the company’s decision will shape the entire genetics industry, which she believes is the “future of medicine.”
Guest Post The cost of sequencing the human genome continues to fall, reaching a low of $1,000 this year due to a new microchip and machine designed by genetics company Life Technologies Corp. And unleashed by those lower costs, a small cadre of entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley is exploring ways to harness this data to enable us to live longer and healthier lives.
More than a half-dozen startups and established companies are in hot pursuit of the “$1,000 genome,” a Holy Grail for those who believe fast, cheap genome sequencing will revolutionize medicine. The latest is Pacific Biosciences, a formerly secretive Menlo Park, Calif., company that just spilled its guts to the NYT over the weekend. We take a look at the company, its technology and the competitive landscape in this piece over at VentureBeat Life Sciences.
Competition to analyze human genomes faster and cheaper — a subject I’ve discussed at length here and here — keeps heating up. The latest shot came yesterday, when Menlo Park, Calif.-based Pacific Biosciences granted the NYT an exclusive look at technology it says should eventually make it possible to sequence a genome in just a few minutes for under $1,000.
The cost of sequencing human genomes is dropping steadily, from several hundred million dollars a decade ago to $100,000 or so today, thanks to a bevy of entrepreneurial companies that have attacked the problem of making the process faster and cheaper with gusto. We’ve looked at several of the newer upstarts in the field, most recently Complete Genomics and Bionanomatrix, Genome Corp. (seventh item), and Genomic Diagnostics (fourth item).
Things are starting to get crowded in the race to sequence entire human genomes quickly and relatively cheaply — usually meaning somewhere in the territory of $1,000 per genome, compared to the $100,000+ it costs with current technology. At least four startups have taken on the $1,000 genome challenge, two of which have already been acquired by larger companies. (See details at the end of the first item here.)
Featured companies: CG Therapeutics, Complete Genomics, ConforMIS, Flexible Medical Systems, LeMaitre Vascular, MAP Pharmaceuticals, ParaPro, Vascular Architects, Zars Pharma
(UPDATED at 5:55pm PT: See below.)
Helicos BioSciences, a Cambridge, Mass., maker of high-speed genome-sequencing equipment, raised $48.6 million in an IPO, well under the $81 million it had hoped to raise. My earlier item on the Helicos IPO is here.