Pacific Biosciences Inc., a leading provider of high-quality, long-read sequencing platforms, has announced a multi-year collaboration with Invitae Corporation, a leading medical genetics company, to begin development of a production-scale high-throughput sequencing platform leveraging the power of PacBio’s highly accurate HiFi sequencing to expand Invitae’s whole genome testing capabilities.
“Whole genome sequencing has the ability to significantly improve diagnosis for a wide range of diseases and guide healthcare throughout life. This collaboration is aimed at developing the technology to make it affordable and accessible to all patients who can benefit from in-depth, full genome information," said Sean George, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Invitae. “Our work with PacBio to date has demonstrated the increased diagnostic yield and clinical utility of using information from high-quality, long-read genomes to guide patient care. We believe this world-class sequencing technology combined with our clinical capabilities will uniquely position us to deliver those benefits cost effectively at scale. We look forward to working with the PacBio team to develop a new generation of innovative whole genome-based offerings.”
Identifying the many underlying genetic influences on human health is becoming increasingly critical to overall clinical care and prognosis and whole genome sequencing offers the most comprehensive view of medically relevant variations. As whole genome sequencing continues to grow into a preferred method for genetic testing, it is expected by the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health that by 2025 as many as sixty million genomes will be sequenced. With the development of a new sequencing platform, Invitae and PacBio aim to enable a new class of cost-effective assays that could be used to accelerate the accessibility of a more comprehensive whole genome sequencing approach in areas including carrier screening, immune system response, and other heritable diseases.
“Invitae is a leader in medical genetic testing and has driven innovation in this area for more than a decade. We are excited to join forces to develop and implement this new platform which is built on our shared vision that broad access to whole genome sequencing in the clinic has the power to improve diagnosis and access to precision therapies,” said Christian Henry, President and Chief Executive Officer of Pacific Biosciences. “Building on the proven performance of our HiFi sequencing, we believe that this new system will ultimately enable us to deliver the most clinically relevant whole genome at substantially less than $1,000 which we believe is a critical price threshold needed to expand adoption in routine medical care.”
PacBio HiFi sequencing combines the high accuracy of Sanger sequencing (>99.9%) with long reads up to 25 kb. Together, the length and accuracy of HiFi reads provide excellent detection of variants from single nucleotide changes to large structural variants, even in hard-to-sequence regions of the genome.
Through the collaboration, both companies will commit significant resources to support development of a production-scale sequencing platform designed with the capacity to process clinical whole genomes at scale. Those resources are expected to include talent, technology and collaborative oversight, and Invitae will also invest capital to support development throughout the multi-year effort.
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