On Monday Illumina CEO Francis deSouza unveiled two new sequencing systems designed to meet growing demand for clinical genomic data at reduced cost, as well as a collaboration with Roche focused on advancing clinical diagnostics, during his presentation at the J.P. Morgan 38th Healthcare Conference in San Francisco.
Illumina said its NextSeq™ 1000 and NextSeq 2000 Sequencing Systems will incorporate innovations that include on-instrument integrated informatics for rapid secondary analysis, and a never-before commercialized combination of super resolution and blue chemistry.
That combination, according to Illumina, will enable users to reduce their operating costs, while enjoying a substantial increase in density and throughput “by leveraging shorter wavelengths and pushing the boundaries of physics to image below the diffraction limit of light,” deSouza said.
Flow cell area needed to sequence a 30X genome will, Illumina said, be reduced 30 fold versus the company’s benchtop portfolio.
“The NextSeq 1000 and NextSeq 2000 provide access to a flexible platform that enables higher intensity applications, which until now have been largely limited to the high throughput systems,” deSouza told an audience of life sciences executives, investors, analysts who track the industry, and others during the J.P. Morgan conference, held at the Westin St. Francis Hotel. “We believe that these are among our most innovative systems releases ever, with more than 75 breakthrough innovations and more than 60 associated patent applications filed.”
deSouza said Illumina will begin shipping limited quantities of NextSeq 2000 later this quarter at a list price of $335,000. NextSeq 2000 will have a maximum output of 300 gigabases (Gb) and a per-Gb cost of $20.
NextSeq 2000 will initially be equipped with the P2 flow cell designed to enable existing NextSeq customers to transition seamlessly to the new sequencing system and what Illumina said is its easier workflow, data management, and lower cost.
Illumina will launch its upgraded P3 flow cell for NextSeq 2000 later this year, deSouza said. By the fourth quarter of 2020, Illumina plans to bring to market NextSeq 1000, which has a list price of $210,000, a maximum output of 120 Gb, and a sequencing cost of $30 per Gb.
NextSeq 1000 and NextSeq 2000 are the first Illumina platforms to integrate the Illumina DRAGEN Bio-IT Platform on board. DRAGEN—which stands for Dynamic Read Analysis for GENomics—is designed to provide accurate, ultra-rapid secondary analysis of sequencing data, processing an entire human genome at 30× coverage in about 25 minutes.
Flexible informatics suite
Illumina acquired DRAGEN’s creator, Edico Genome, in 2018 for $100 million. Within NextSeq 1000 and 2000, DRAGEN will power a flexible informatics suite that features both local and cloud-based options for run setup, management and analysis, Illumina said.
“NextSeq 1000 and 2000 are designed to enable core labs, small to medium research labs and clinical facilities to access high intensity sequencing applications using our industry-leading SBS technology,” Omead Ostadan, SVP, marketing and products & strategic planning at Illumina, added in a statement.
The Roche partnership—whose value was not disclosed—is a 15-year non-exclusive agreement that Illumina said was designed to accelerate the availability of distributable NGS-based in-vitro diagnostic (IVD) tests on Illumina’s diagnostic (Dx) sequencing systems.
Roche has also agreed to partner with Illumina in adding new companion diagnostic (CDx) claims to Illumina’s comprehensive pan-cancer assay TruSight Oncology 500 (TSO 500).
Roche and other IVD partners of Illumina will be able to develop assays for a planned new regulatory-cleared version of the high-throughput NovaSeq system that will be designed to address growing demand for a Dx platform to support deeper sequencing at higher throughput, Illumina said.
That new version, NovaSeqDx, is expected to be commercially available in 2022.
“Nearly 17 years after completion of the first human genome, we remain in the earliest phases of discovering everything the genome has to teach us, and I have never been more excited by the opportunity for Illumina as we enter 2020,” deSouza concluded.
Other highlights of deSouza’s presentation:
- Genome England: Illumina has signed a contract with Genomics England to deliver sequencing lab testing services for the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). “We expect testing services to begin ramping around the middle of this year in support of the NHS ambitions to sequence between 300,000 and 500,000 patients by the end of 2025,” deSouza said.
- 2019 preliminary results: Illumina said it finished last year with $3.541 billion in revenue, up 6% from 2018, including about $950 million in fourth-quarter revenue, 10% above Q4 2018. The company is set to report fourth quarter and full-year 2019 results on January 29, following the close of the financial market.
- 2020 guidance: Illumina is projecting 2020 revenues of between $3.86 billion and $3.93 billion, reflecting 9–11% year-over-year revenue growth. At the midpoint of that range, Illumina said, it expects about 14% sequencing growth and 17% sequencing consumables growth. GAAP earnings per share for 2020 are forecast at between $6.45 and $6.65.