DNA sequencing company Illumina has unveiled a machine that may one day sequence a whole genome for less than $100. The company’s CEO Frank deSouza showed the machine, NovaSeq, at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in downtown San Francisco. He said that the machine could decipher an entire human genome in less than an hour.
Cost of sequencing has gone down tremendously. In 2006 Illumina’s first machine could sequence a human genome for $300,000 and slowly costs went down, last year it would cost $1,000 and now $100. The machines however cost much higher, as expected. The NovaSeq 5000 costs $850,000 and the NovaSeq 6000 costs $985,000.
Harvard, the Broad Institute of MIT, the Chan-Zuckerberg Biohub, and biotech companies Human longevity Inc. and Regeneron are ready to test NovaSeq.
Last year Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, his wife, started an organization to help advance human potential and equality and pumped $45 billion into it. $3 billion from that organization will be used over the next decade to invest in an effort to help cure, prevent, and manage all disease. The project is called Chan Zuckerberg Science and was announced in San Francisco.
The project aims to bring together teams of scientists and engineers in an effort “to build new tools for the scientific community, said Priscilla Chan at the San Francisco event.
$600 million from the $3 billion will be invested in Biohub, a location aimed to unite researchers from Stanford, UCSF, and Berkeley with engineers to find new ways to finding cures to diseases. “We’ll be investing in basic science research with the goal of curing disease,” Said Chan.
Bill Gates came to the stage and called the project “very bold, very ambitious”. He supported the project and called for others to do the same and organizations with funding are needed to stop diseases from spreading such as Ebola.
The Biohub will be located at 499 Illinois St, SF, CA. It will be led by UCSF’s Joe DeRisi and Stanford’s Stephen Quake, who are known for their experience in bio-engineering and biophysics. The most important part about the research that will take place in the Biohub is that it will be openly available to doctors and researchers around the world.