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Ultima Genomics launching high-end DNA sequencers that can read genome for $100

Ultima Genomics, an upstart some observers have called a “dark horse” in the world of DNA sequencing, will soon launch a line of high-power instruments that can read a human genome for as little as $100, the company’s leadership told STAT.

The sequencer, dubbed the UG 100, is a $1.5 million machine that can read up to 20,000 human genomes a year. The reagents required to operate the instrument cost as little as $1 per billion sequenced DNA bases; that translates to $100 per genome assuming each base in the 3-gigabase human genome is read 33 times, a common industry standard. The company plans to officially launch the product at this year’s Advances in Genome Biology and Technology meeting, which kicks off in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 5.

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The product’s cost and maximum output put it roughly in the same range as a line of high-throughput instruments launched in September 2022 by Illumina, which controls an estimated 80% of the sequencing market. But Ultima is hoping it can chip into the sequencing giant’s market share among genome centers, large clinical labs, and others with an appetite for reams of genetic data by offering lower operating costs and greater flexibility.

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