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.
Illumina acquires SF-based Moleculo Inc., for novel sample prep & analysis, synthetic read lengths up to 10 kb #JPM13
— Illumina (@illumina) January 8, 2013
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.