The $10 million Archon X PRIZE for Genomics has gone international. The X PRIZE Foundation has announced that base4 innovation, a United Kingdom company, has been approved as a competitor.
The Archon X PRIZE for Genomics is the second prize launched by the X PRIZE Foundation, following the success of the Ansari Space X PRIZE. To win the $10 million prize purse, teams must successfully sequence 100 human genomes within 10 days for less than $10,000 per genome. This accomplishment would be a revolutionary and needed step towards personalized medicine.
“We’re delighted to have base4 innovation as our first international team,” said Marc Hodosh, Senior Director of the Archon X PRIZE for Genomics.
“This is an enormous, yet attainable challenge. We welcome base4 innovation and other entrants from around the world to compete and focus their energy on winning this historic X PRIZE. Such new technology will help mankind better understand disease while advancing proactive and preventative healthcare. Let’s cheer them on!”
With the support from the University of Warwick and Warwick Ventures, base4 innovation is developing a new high-speed, low-cost method of DNA sequencing which combines well-known techniques such as photon detection and fluorescent labeling with nanostructures and cutting edge methods of nanofabrication.
The team consists of physicists and biologists from Oxford, Cambridge and the University of Warwick. Cameron Frayling, team leader and base4innovation founder, is a researcher at the University of Warwick and the inventor of the innovative method behind this sequencing technology.
“In the last century, many great challenges have been faced and overcome: the first flight across the Atlantic, the first to climb Mt. Everest, the race to land on the Moon,” said Frayling.
“The Archon X PRIZE is not about great distance or great height. It is about our ability – both as individuals and as a species – to look within. There is nothing more fundamental to who we are, no greater key to our ancestry and origin, than our genetic code.”
base4 innovation is the fifth team to register for the Archon X PRIZE for Genomics since its launch in October of 2006. Other teams include VisiGen Biotechnologies, 454 Life Sciences Corporation, the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution (FAME), and Reveo, Inc.