May 1, 2018 (Vol. 38, No. 9)
Alex Philippidis Senior News Editor Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
Plunging Cost, Wider Use of Technology Help Drive NGS Growth
2017 Revenues: $2.752 billion
After years of dominating high-end NGS technologies, Illumina in January announced the launch of a markedly smaller system, the one-cubic-foot iSeq 100 sequencer. At $19,900, the iSeq 100 is a bargain compared to the company’s $50,000 MiniSeq or its NovaSeq, which sells for close to $1 million—with Illumina trumpeting its newest sequencer as one that “puts NGS within reach of virtually any lab.” The company finished 2017 with a 15% rise in revenue, in part reflecting increased clinical activity. Last year, Illumina launched its second FDA-regulated and CE-IVD marked NGS system, NextSeq™ 550Dx, designed to extend NGS to clinical labs; and partnered with China’s KingMed Diagnostics to apply its NGS technology toward novel oncology and hereditary disease testing applications.
2. Thermo Fisher Scientific
2017 Revenues: “Just under” $418.36 million
Thermo Fisher Scientific CEO Marc Casper offered an approximate size for its NGS business on January 31, when he told analysts on the company’s quarterly earnings call that NGS “represents just under 2% of our revenue,” according to a transcript published by Seeking Alpha. Casper added: “It’s a business that is growing reasonably well.” In addition to product launches last year, the company in 2018 said it will begin offering its Ion AmpliSeq technology for researchers using Illumina’s NGS platforms, under the name AmpliSeq for Illumina. Thermo Fisher includes NGS within its life sciences solutions segment, which accounted for $5.73 billion of the company’s total revenue of $20.918 billion.
3. BGI Genomics
2017 Revenues: RMB 2.095 billion ($332.3 million)
4. Agilent Technologies
2017 Revenues: Approximately $230 million
The figure reflects sequencing accounting for “less than 30%” of the $772 million in 2017 revenue reported by Agilent’s diagnostics and genomics group (DGG), according to the company. DGG activity includes NGS target enrichment. On April 3, Agilent announced it signed a definitive agreement with Lasergen, developer of DNA sequencing technologies, to acquire its remaining shares for $105 million. The deal completes a purchase that began in 2016, when Agilent invested $80 million in Lasergen and took a 48% stake in the developer of NGS technology. Last year, Agilent acquired the molecular and sample barcoding patent portfolios of Population Genetics Technologies for an undisclosed sum, which the buyer said would enable it to improve the accuracy and sensitivity of NGS detection.
2017 Revenues: More than $115 million
Qiagen disclosed a sales figure for its NGS business when it released fourth-quarter and full-year 2017 results on January 31—as well as its goal this year of exceeding $140 million in NGS sales, up 22%. “We are adding a range of new products and service enhancements to our NGS portfolio for universal solutions as well as for the GeneReader NGS system,” Qiagen CEO Peer M. Schatz told analysts on the company’s quarterly conference call. Last month, Qiagen and Natera said they will develop cell-free DNA assays focused on prenatal screening for GeneReader, through a 10-year collaboration that could generate up-to-$50 million-plus for Natera.
2017 Revenues: KRW 101.8 billion ($95.4 million)
Macrogen celebrated its 20th anniversary last year as a provider of sequencing services. It is South Korea’s largest sequencing company, with a 12% revenue increase from KRW 91.1 billion ($85.3 million) in 2016. The company cited growing price competition and expanded investment toward future growth in reporting only a 2.5% year-over-year increase in profit, to KRW 3.1 billion ($2.9 million). “This year, we will speed up the development of future medical innovations and increase our business strategic agility in the gene-therapy field, based on our high-quality gene analysis service,” CEO Moon Ji-young said in a statement. The company maintains a U.S. branch in Rockville, MD, which generated 2017 sales of KRW 3 billion ($2.8 million).
7. PacBio Pacific Biosciences of California
2017 Revenues: $93.5 million
PacBio enjoyed a 19% jump in product and service revenue from the $78.6 million reported in 2016. One key reason was growth in China, which last year represented >30% of total revenue, up from <10% in 2016. Already this year, PacBio announced two significant purchases of its Sequel® system sequencers by Chinese customers, Annoroad Gene Technology in March and BGI Genomics in January. The latter reflects PacBio’s growing presence in plant and animal sequencing, with Chairman, CEO, and President Michael Hunkapiller, Ph.D., telling analysts the company was featured in 66 program presentations and 50 poster presentations at the Plant and Animal Genome XXVI Conference, held January 13–17 in San Diego.
2016 Revenues: $83.1 million
Genewiz specializes in R&D genomics services and has grown since its founding in 1999 to rank No. 3,221 on Inc. magazine’s 2017 Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing privately held companies (where the 2016 revenue figure was disclosed), based on its percentage growth of annual revenue over a three-year period of 100.33%. Last year, the company expanded into clinical genomics testing with the launch of its CLIA Sanger Sequencing service, and launched Amplicon-EZ, designed to provide a cost-effective, fast, and interactive solution for researchers to sequence mixed PCR products.
9. 10x Genomics
2017 Revenues: $71 million
The figure is more than double 10x Genomics’ revenues for 2016, the company stated in a presentation at the J.P. Morgan 36th Healthcare Conference in January, and in job ads shared this year on numerous tech job websites. At J.P. Morgan, the company announced a new version of its Chromium de novo assembly solution, which includes a new version of the assembly software, Supernova 2.0. The company’s offerings also include Linked-Reads, a sequencing technology designed to provide long-range information from short-read sequencing data. 10x Genomics—which completed a $55 million Series C financing in 2016—organizes genetic information based on what is known as “read clouds” to map the larger picture of the genome.
10. Oxford Nanopore Technologies
2016 Revenues: £4.5 million ($6.3 million)
For a longer version of the Top 10 Sequencing Companies click here.