Tuesday 18 October 2011

Life Technologies turn up the heat on Illumina: do we have some real competition?

I was presenting today at an EBI workshop and was followed by Matt Dyer, senior product manager bioinformatics at Ion Torrent. He gave a good introduction to the platform an recent development and then went onto a hands on demo of the Torrent suite of applications.

He updated his talk 5 minutes before giving it.
571.43Mbp from a single 316 chip.
551 bp perfect read is current record for length.

Goodbye 454?

Life Tech made a real splash by the sound of things coming out of ASHG.

5500 updates:
Wildfire is the new isothermal amplification removing the painful emulsion PCR, and will be performed on the instrument using the 5500 "flowchips". Sounds a bit like a cBot in a HiSeq!

Certainly does according to Mark Gardner, VP at Life Tech, over on GenomeWeb who says "you coat the flow cell with primers ... and then add template and isothermally amplify." resulting in isolated fragments. Sounds an awful lot like clusters on a flowcell.

Gardner also suggested the much hyped feature of using just one lane on a flowcell. Lastly Gardner says the 55000 will move from 400k cpmm (400 thousand clusters per millimetre squared) to 1M cpmm and on both sides of the flowchip.

If all this pans out then there is a real competitor to Illumina for whole genome sequencing and any high-throughput applications.

Incidentally, I found it really hard to find a picture of a flowchip, can someone post some HiRes images? Or post me a flowchip and I'll put it alongside Illumina, PacBio, Ion et al.

5500 Flowchip from http://www.ebioservice.com/show_news.asp?id=909

Ion updates:

A new library prep kit the Ion Xpress™ Plus Fragment Library Kit an enzymatic shearing reduces library prep to 2 hours making DNA to sequence possible in eight hours. 200bp read kits from the Ion Sequencing 200 Kit and talk of reads over 500bp. Custom enrichment for more then 100kb of genome targeting, Ion TargetSeq™ Custom Enrichment Kit. 384 barcodes are coming as well.

Look out Roche and Illumina, Ion is hot on your heels.

PS: I still think of Life Tech 5500 as SOLiD and use this in conversations with others. I'll miss the term when Life Tech marketing finally kill it.

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