Complete Genomics Inc., a third-generation human genome sequencing
company, today announced its formal launch as the world’s first
provider of large-scale human genome sequencing services.
The company, which was established in March 2006, has been operating
in "stealth mode" from a 32,000-square-foot facility near San
Francisco. For the past two and a half years, Complete Genomics has
been reinventing the process of DNA sequencing based on pioneering
technology invented by its founders and refined by a team of 100
employees with expertise in DNA engineering, molecular biology,
instrumentation, semiconductors and high-performance computing. The
convergence of these fields in Silicon Valley has allowed Complete
Genomics to sequence its first complete human genome, providing
proof-of-concept for its disruptive new technology and demonstrating
the high accuracy and low cost of its approach.
Complete Genomics is building the world’s largest commercial human
genome sequencing center. It will offer high-quality, high-throughput,
affordable, complete human genome sequencing services to pharmaceutical
and biotechnology companies as well as other medical researchers that
were previously priced out of the market. By offering a sequencing
service instead of following the traditional instrument sales model,
Complete Genomics is relieving its customers of operational,
computational and capital purchase burdens, allowing them to focus
their resources on scientific discovery.
"We will be the first company to sequence complete human genomes for
less than $1,000 in material costs," said Dr. Clifford Reid, chairman,
president and chief executive officer of Complete Genomics. "This
breakthrough materials cost, combined with our low per-genome
instrument, labor and overhead costs, will allow us to offer complete
human genomes for just $5,000 in Q2 2009."
"This $5,000 price point, combined with the scale of our sequencing
center, will dramatically increase the availability and affordability
of human genome sequencing. For the first time, our customers can
conduct systematic studies of the genetic basis of disease and drug
response. Our sequencing services will be one of the core enablers of
the impending revolution in personalized medicine," Reid added.
"Many chronic and life-threatening human diseases have a genetic
basis, and Complete Genomics’ sequencing service will allow medical
researchers to study disease pathways comprehensively and
cost-effectively in a large number of individuals. The ability to
compare a significant number of genomes of people with a disease
against those without the disease is central to enabling drug discovery
and the development of new diagnostics," added Dr. George M. Church,
professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School, director of the Center
for Computational Genetics and member of Complete Genomics’ Scientific
This announcement marks the first step in Complete Genomics’
dramatic growth strategy. After the company launches its
third-generation human DNA sequencing service in Q2 2009, it plans to
sequence 1,000 genomes in the same year. The company will then sequence
20,000 genomes in 2010.
This is proving to be a popular proposition: 10 percent of Complete
Genomics’ sequencing capacity is already allocated to the Seattle-based
Institute for Systems Biology, with whom it announced its first
Also in conjunction with partners, Complete Genomics intends to open
additional genome sequencing centers across the U.S. and abroad. Over
the next five years, the company projects that 10 such centers will be
able to sequence 1 million complete human genomes.
"One million genomes represent 1,000 people each in 1,000 disease
studies," Reid said. "Our customers will conduct these studies to
reveal the genetic basis of all major human diseases including cancer,
psychiatric and neurological diseases, metabolic and cardiovascular
diseases, autoimmune diseases, and many other poorly understood
A key component of Complete Genomics’ sequencing center is its data
center, purpose-built to manage and analyze the staggering amount of
genetic data that will be generated by sequencing thousands of human
genomes. Because the data generated by a single human genome would fill
1,000 laptop computers, each with 100 GB of disk storage, data
management for Complete Genomics’ genome center will be a massive
undertaking. The company plans to have 10,000 processors with five
petabytes (5 million gigabytes) of disk storage in 2009 and will
further increase its capacity to 60,000 processors with 30 petabytes of
disk storage in 2010. Complete Genomics expects to sequence 200 genomes
per day by the end of 2010, making it the world’s highest-throughput
human genome sequencing center. To put this in context, fewer than 20
complete human genomes have been sequenced in the world to date.
Complete Genomics also is developing sophisticated analysis tools
that will help its customers interpret their data. Such tools will
allow them to browse data, assemble genomes, annotate and compare
genomes, and run association studies.
"Complete Genomics is a game-changing company with incredible growth
potential. Not only has it developed a sequencing technology that will
enable it to sell complete human genomes for $5,000, it has also built
a scalable services model to accommodate pent-up industry and research
demand. And this is just the beginning. Complete Genomics’ technology
costs will decrease further as the volume of genomes it sequences goes
up, providing a durable competitive advantage," said Dr. Alex Barkas,
managing director of Prospect Venture Partners as well as an investor
in Complete Genomics and board member. "Complete Genomics has the
potential to revolutionize the way its customers learn the genetic
basis of health and disease, and apply that to the future of medicine.
We are about to see a very positive, disruptive technology come to
Source : Complete Genomics. October 2008.