Illumina Acquires Moleculo Inc. for Longer Reads

Illumina AcquiresMoleculo

Illumina Acquires Moleculo

Illumina announced at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference (JMP2013) that it has acquired San Francisco based Mocleculo.  Moleculo, the sequencing startup company (with not much information in the web), is a product of Stanford University’s sequencing pioneer Stephen Quake.

Michael Kertesz, a former postdoc at Stephen Quake’s lab, is the CEO and one of the co-founders of Moleculo. Another co-founder of Moleculo is Dmitry Pushkarev, a former research assistant at Stephen Quake lab.

In the press release announcing Illumina’s new sequencing technology innovations, Illumina said Moleculo’s technology will help Illumina to produce reads of lengths up to 10 kb with high accuracy (low error rate  (Q50 or better)).  And the accurate longer reads will help clinically for getting  “comprehensive coverage and accurate genotyping”.

Illumina also said that ability to produce long reads will also help new applications like  “phased resequencing of human genomes, and rapid de novo sequencing of complex plant and animal genomes.”  It is worth noting that, last year Complete Genomics announced a new technology called Long Fragment Read (LFR) technology that can produce longer reads. It will be interesting to learn more about how moleculo’s technology compares to Complete Genomics’ Long read technology.

[Update: Moleculo technology] Thanks to Nick Loman’s tweet, here is more detail on what moleculo technology can do. The abstract titled “Production of Long (1.5kb – 15.0kb), Accurate, DNA Sequencing Reads Using an Illumina HiSeq2000 to Support De novo Genome Assembly” to be presented at the upcoming Plant and Animal Genome conference in San Diego, CA describes  how moleculo technology uses Illumina HiSeq to produce long accurate reads of length 1.5kb – 15.0kb and to support de novo assembly of blue catfish, Ictalurus furcatus.

Stanford University’s Stephen Quake Lab, Moleculo and Verinata Health

Moleculo is the second company that Illumina acquired this week. Earlier this week, Illumina acquired Verinata Health, a non-invasive prenatal test company based at Redwood City, CA.

One of the commmon themes between the two acquisitions is Stephen Quake’s involvement with both Verinata Health and Moleculo.  Verinata Helath’s pre-natal diagnostic test for down syndrome is based on Stephen Quake’s work on sequencing cell-free DNA and detecting “extra chromosome 21 material from the baby in the mother’s blood“.  Stephen Quake is also on the scientific advisory board of Verinata Health.

About Moleculo from its LinkedIn page

Moleculo has developed a novel DNA sequencing method that provides very long and accurate reads, thus improving the efficiency and accuracy of many existing DNA sequencing applications and enabling a range of new applications.
Early access to our technology is currently available to a few select customers.

Here is the press release from Moleculo Inc  announcing  the acquisition news

Moleculo has recently been acquired by Illumina. The Moleculo team is excited about this opportunity and is pleased to join forces with Illumina, the market leader in next-generation sequencing.

We believe this merger opens a great opportunity to further accelerate the development of Moleculo’s technology and introduce products that will make a true impact in human clinical sequencing and de-novo assembly of complex genomes.

We would like to thank our existing customers for letting us work with them on a range of fascinating projects. This has been an exciting year for the entire team. We remain fully committed to provide existing customers uninterrupted access to our technology, as we get ready to launch it widely.


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  2. […] week at the JMP 2013 Illumina announced the acquisition of San Francisco based Moleculo Inc. Moleculo, the company and its technology has […]

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  4. […] acquisition for the year 2013. Illumina started the year off by acquiring Verinata Health and Moleculo in January 2013. Then in July, Illumina acquired Advanced Liquid Logic in July […]

  5. […] already have “long reads” and got a lot of attraction this year are Illumina’s Moleculo and PacBio.  And Oxford Nanopore data is just around the corner. With Oxford Nanopore’s early […]

  6. […] Illumina’s last year’s focus was all about sequencing a genome in a day and acquiring Moleculo to offer long read sequencing, this year Illumina was all about sequencing […]

  7. […] published in Nature Biotechnology, Stanford team led by Mike Snyder (other authors include the two Moleculo founders) demonstrated the use of Moleculo long-read sequencing technology for haplotyping a whole human […]

  8. […] acquired Moleculo in early 2013 and quickly made Moleculo long-read sequencing as service during the summer of 2013. […]

  9. […] of Life Technologies. Illumina continues to quietly build their platform. In January, they bought Moleculo, a Next-Gen Sequencing company with the ability to do long reads (10kb) and in February […]

  10. […] of the lessons from our investments involving life sciences (starting with in 2011 + Moleculo in 2012) as well as some of the evaluation criteria we think about for potential […]

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