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Life Technologies’ Benchtop Ion Proton Sequencer Designed to Decode a Human Genome in One Day for $1,000 makes ArabLab Debut.

Published: Monday, April 02, 2012
Last Updated: Monday, April 02, 2012
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Democratizing DNA sequencing by reducing time, cost and informatics bottleneck.

Life Technologies announced that its Ion Proton Sequencer benchtop that will sequence an entire human genome for less than 1,000 dollars in a day, will be on show for the first time in the Middle East at the ArabLab trade show 26th-29th March 2012 in Dubai.

The Ion ProtonTM featured heavily at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and the World Economic Forum in Davos.  Subject to regulatory approvals beyond research use only, the technology may one day guide patients, particularly those with cancer – to receive treatment most likely to work with their individual genetic profile.  The low cost means that potentially millions of people will have the ability to have their genome read over the next ten years.

The Ion Proton Sequencer, priced at $149,000, is based on the next generation of semiconductor sequencing technology that has made its predecessor, the Ion Personal Genome Machine (PGM), the fastest-selling sequencer in the world.

Up to now, it has taken weeks or months to sequence a human genome at a cost of $5,000 to $10,000 using optical-based sequencing technologies. The slow pace and the high instrument cost of $500,000 to $750,000 have limited human genome sequencing to relatively few research labs.

Health officials confronted by superbug outbreaks will be able to identify the strain of concern within hours rather than days or weeks and use that as a basis to begin planning treatment, potentially saving thousands of lives. “Just six months after our first semiconductor sequencing chip was released, people used it to help solve the German E. coli outbreak, sequencing the toxic strain in just a couple of hours,” said Dr. Jonathan M. Rothberg, the Founder and CEO of Ion Torrent division. “Now, six months later we’re developing a chip that’s 1,000 times more powerful than that to sequence an entire human genome in about the same amount of time. That’s the power that semiconductors bring to sequencing.”

The Power of Benchtop Sequencing for All Applications

Between the benchtop Ion PGM Sequencer and the benchtop Ion Proton Sequencer, the Ion Torrent technology can cover any application. The Ion PGM Sequencer is ideal for sequencing genes, small genomes, panels of genes, or performing gene expression profiling, for as little as $99 a chip. The Ion PGM Sequencer's speed, simplicity and scalability also make it an ideal platform to extend into clinical research. Life Technologies will seek FDA clearance for the Ion PGM platform in 2012.

The Ion Proton Sequencer is ideal for sequencing both exomes – regions in the DNA that code for protein – and human genomes.  The Ion Proton I Chip, ideal for sequencing exomes, will be available mid-2012. The Ion Proton II Chip, ideal for sequencing whole human genomes, will be available about six months later.  In addition, the Ion Proton OneTouch system automates template prep and a stand-alone Ion Proton Torrent Server performs the primary and secondary data analysis.

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