GenapSys to Sequence Genome for $50
Inexpensive, time-efficient full genome sequencing will be a major accomplishment not only for the field of genomics, but for the entire human civilization because, for the first time, individuals will be able to have their entire genome sequenced. Utilizing this information, it is speculated that health care professionals, such as physicians and genetic counselors, will eventually be able to use genomic information to predict what diseases a person may get in the future and attempt to either minimize the impact of that disease or avoid it altogether through the implementation of personalized, preventive medicine.
The cost of sequencing an entire genome has dramatically decreased over the year surpassing even Moore’s Law, however, it still remains cost-prohibitive for most individuals. The below chart shows this trend over time:
It is truly amazing that just 12 years ago, the cost to sequence an entire genome was $100 million, yet today it has fallen to just under $10 thousand. However, even at under $10 thousand this price point is still prohibitive for most individuals. One company looking to change this is GenapSys.
Redwood City California based GenapSys Inc was founded in 2010 by Dr. Hesaam Esfandyarpour who is the inventor of electronic DNA sequencing. Over the past 10 years, Dr. Esfandyarpour and his team at the Stanford Genome Technology Center have been developing a label-free and fast electronic sequencing technology that may dramatically reduce the cost of sequencing, in both instrumentation and running costs. Just 3 days ago, the company closed a Series B investing round of $36 million dollars with Yuri Milner joining the round as a first-time investor along with existing investors Decheng Capital and IPV Capital, and participation from new investor Stanford StartX Fund, as well as other private and institutional investors. In 2012, GenapSys received almost $4 million in grant funding from the National Human Genome Research Institute.
Update 11/20/2019: GenapSys has raised $90 million in Series C funding to drive the commercial launch of its first sequencing instrument, the GenapSys Sequencer, which is now available for order in the US at a list price of $9,995, with a global launch planned for early 2020. This brings the company’s total funding to $174 million to date.
GenapSys is still officially in “stealth mode” so not much information is available from the company as to the specifics of their technology or the progress they are making. What is known is that GenapSys is developing an electronic chip based on their GENIUS (Gene Electronic Nano-Integrated Ultra-Sensitive) technology that will be able to sequence a genome at a consumables cost of $50 and with a 100-fold improvement in speed over current methods with turnaround time measured in hours, not weeks. According to an article in the Silicon Valley Business Journal, the GenapSys $3,000 device will replace equipment that can cost more than $500,000. According to AllSeq.com, the device is projected to be commercially available in Q3 2013. While GenapSys is not the only company focusing on dramatically breaking down the cost of genome sequencing, the pedigree of management and recent vote of confidence by Yuri Milner make GenapSys a serious contender.