Illumina CEO Jay Flatley on Moleculo and Verinata Health

Illumina CEO on Moleculo and Verinata Health

Illumina’s CEO on Moleculo and Verinata Health

Xconomy’s Luke Timmerman interviewed Illumina CEO during last week’s JP Morgan Healthcare 2013 meeting and published the interview today at Xconmomy.  The interview is a long one with Illumina’s CEO discussing a wide range of issues on next-gen sequencing including Illumina’s recent acquisitions Verinata Health and Moleculo.

Here is a gist of the Illumin CEO’s comments on its recent acquisitions, Verinata Health and Moleculo.    Commenting on Illumina’s current acquisition strategy,  Jay Flately said earlier Illumina was opportunistic, but now it is proactive and actively looks for interesting additions/expansions.

Illumina’s entry into prenatal diagnostic marker by acquiring Verinata Health raised a few questions as the move competes with Sequenom.  Sequenom is a leader in the growing pre-natal diagnostic market and it is also one of the biggest customers of Illumina.  In 2012, Sequenom’s MaterniT21 PLUS  test was ordered over 60,000 times. The  MaterniT21 PLUS is similar to Verinata’s Verifi test that analyzes circulating cell-free DNA extracted from a maternal blood sample to detect chromosomal aberrations.

Illumina’s CEO assuaged that Illumina’s goal is not to compete with Sequenom, but expand the market. He added that the whole pre-natal diagnostic test market is heldup by IP issues. The upcoming players in prenatal diagnostics, sequenom, Verinata Health, Aria Diagnostics, Ariosa, LabCorp, and Natera, have patient suits. Illumina hopes that with Verinata’s patent portfolio, it can  entangle some of these IP issues.

Illumina’s CEO Jay Flatley: 10% of NGS market Will Need Long Reads

Commenting on Moleculo, he said Moleculo has great technology that allows us to get lonng reads without sacrifying accuracy. He called out PacBio and Oxford Nanopore as the technologies where one sacrifices accuracy for long reads. He added that Moleculo technology will help Illumina “inch our product line forward in some interesting ways”.

He also threw more light on what illumina could do using Moleculo technology in its lab. On an average the read lengths were about 7-8k long and the maximum read lengths were about 13k. In its lab, they could sequence “synthetic reads” of length 100k with great accuracy.

Illumina’s CEO predicted that about 10% of next-gen sequencing market would like to have long reads. Added that the long reads from Moleculo will be useful in structural variants in cancer, de-novo genome assembly, meta-genomics, and few more clinical applications needing haplotype origin.

Read the complete inter view here.

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