Tuesday, 9 October 2012

The 2500 flowcell: is this Illumina's razor blade

I finally saw an image of a 2500 flowcell so you can stop looking at the one I mocked up based on discussions with Illumina personnel just before AGBT.

One thing immediately struck me and that was how much a HiSeq 2500 flowcell looks like an old fashioned razor blade? OK, you may have to squint to see the similarity!

I am sure many of you have heard of the razor and razor-blades business model? It is where the hardware (HiSeq 2500 in this analogy) is sold off pretty cheaply while the consumables (flowcells and SBS reagents) are marked up to bring in the real profits.

Why then does a HiSeq 2500 cost $700,000?

PS: I can't be the only person looking forward to real "genomes-in-a-day"? 20x coverage is for wimps! ;-)

1 comment:

  1. James, Illumina is already doing this, sort of... It's just that the 'razor' in this case is so expensive, they can't give it away for free. But they do charge substantially lower margins than they do for the flow cells and reagents. Razors can be given away for free when the blades will cover the expense in just a few purchases. If you wanted a free HiSeq, you'd have to be willing to pay at least 10X what you're paying now for reagents. I'm not sure most people would be willing to do that.