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A Snapshot of the NGS Market – An Interview with OGT

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Oxford Gene Technology (OGT) have published results from a recent survey of researchers using next generation sequencing (NGS). I used this opportunity to speak to Dr Stephen Archibald, Director of Communications at OGT to get a better understanding of OGT and the NGS market.

LC: Can you please tell us a little more about OGT?

OGT: Founded by Professor Ed Southern, Oxford Gene Technology (OGT) provides medical researchers with improved products and services to accurately detect and analyse human disease. Our Genefficiency™ Genomic Services, offer a broad range of high-quality next generation sequencing and microarray services. In addition, our innovative range of CytoSure™ products deliver the complete array solution for cytogenetics research. Our services and products come complete with class-leading analysis software which makes it easy for researchers to rapidly identify meaningful results.

LC: What were the key findings of the recent NGS survey?

OGT: The survey revealed a number of interesting findings. For example, bioinformatics is identified as the biggest barrier to NGS usage (56%) and as a consequence 36% of respondents are outsourcing this key stage of the process. As sequencing capacity increases and reagents costs decrease, the pressures on in-house bioinformatics resources are becoming more apparent than ever. As a genomic services provider that delivers not just high-quality data but a fully annotated interactive report that enables researchers to rapidly identify meaningful results without in-house bioinformatics resource, this finding very much aligns with our offering. However, based on the survey data, there are clearly still a number of researchers with data analysis challenges who have yet to experience the benefits of outsourcing.

LC: Were there any unexpected findings?

OGT: We were pleasantly surprised to see the high percentage of researchers favouring targeted resequencing (46%) methods (whole exome and targeted panel sequencing) over whole genome sequencing (13%). Researchers are clearly identifying the benefits of targeted resequencing, including cost-efficiency and increased depth of coverage, which improves the chance of finding biologically relevant variants.

LC: How does OGT intend to use the data from this report?

OGT: OGT regularly conducts market research surveys to ensure we offer our customers the most appropriate technology and applications to meet their research goals. In addition, by identifying the challenges faced by researchers, we can develop customer information that helps to ensure informed decision making. This survey has directly led to the creation of our recent white paper on choosing the right NGS method as well as a demo version of our reporting software, showing customers how easy it can be to identify meaningful results without having to rely on an internal bioinformatics resource. In addition, we use the data from such surveys to drive our webinar programme, ensuring the content is aligned with researchers’ needs. Our next webinar, scheduled for October, directly addresses the challenges of custom bait design for targeted NGS panels.

LC: What do you see as the most popular research areas for NGS? Do you anticipate any changes?

OGT: The top 3 research areas for NGS were cancer (27%), rare disease (17%) and developmental disorders (15%). These application areas fit well with the use of targeted sequencing, particularly targeted panel sequencing, which due to its cost efficiency and sensitivity, is the tool of choice for the development of clinically focussed assays. As the use of targeted panels increase, we expect to see more emphasis being placed on bait design optimisation. This is another area where service providers such as OGT can help researchers ensure the delivery of sensitive and reproducible results. For example, our SureSeq™ Solid Tumour Panel has been designed in conjunction with leading cancer researchers and, through our unique probe design algorithms, provides exceptional uniformity of coverage. Based on the results provided in this survey, we will be launching new targeted sequencing panels covering additional research areas and re-emphasising how our custom panels design and sequencing service can benefit researchers.

Louise Conlin, Technology Networks Editor