BioTechniques’ Top Six Next-Generation Sequencing Companies
Next-generation sequencing refers to a range of genomic sequencing techniques that have seen major progress since the Human Genome Project announced its rough draft in 2000. This draft triggered competition among many companies, who each worked to develop a methodology that researchers could use to sequence an individual’s genome for under $1,000. In 2007, the biotech company Knome came up with direct-to-consumer genome sequencing services at $350,000 per consumer. Then, in 2010, Illumina developed genome sequencing at an initial price of $50,000 per consumer.
There is some controversy over which company first produced a complete genome sequence that came in below $1,000. But regardless of which companies have developed methodologies to cut the cost of DNA sequencing, these methodologies’ techniques and technologies are now key to several areas of clinical diagnostics. Now, companies around the world are working to make DNA sequencing even more cost-effective and get the cost down to $100 per individual or even lower.
Here, the life sciences journal BioTechniques takes a look at six of the companies that are shaping the future of next-generation sequencing.
Widely considered the world’s leader in next-generation sequencing, Illumina develops, manufactures, and markets integrated systems that researchers can use to analyze genetic variation and biological function. In 2018, the company reported revenues of $3.333 billion and announced that it expected to reduce the cost of sequencing to $100. By the end of the year, it had also acquired Pacific Biosciences of California (PacBio), which develops and manufactures DNA sequencing systems. A year later, Illumina teamed up with the Lundbeck Foundation GeoGenetics Centre at the University of Copenhagen (Denmark) to study the link between neurological disorders and infectious pathogens.
Illumina’s headquarters are in San Diego, California.
2. Agilent Technologies
The laboratory equipment leader Agilent Technologies provides some of the highest-quality tools for DNA sequencing, and analytical scientists and clinical researchers rely on the company to accomplish complex laboratory demands. In 2018, the company generated approximately $250 million in annual revenues relating to next-generation sequencing products. These revenues accounted for 26.5% of the $943 million revenue its diagnostics and genomics group (DGG) reported. In Agilent Technologies’ first-quarter financial report of 2019, its CEO told analysts that the company’s next-generation-sequencing-related business had grown again by double digits that quarter.
Agilent Technologies’ headquarters are in Santa Clara, California.
3. 10X Genomics
10x Genomics designs and manufactures DNA sequencing technologies that scientific researchers adopt across several applications. In 2018, the biotechnology company generated $146 million in revenue and developed its offerings through two major acquisitions. In August 2018, the company acquired Epinomics, which specializes in epigenetics and enabled 10x Genomics to introduce a new line of products. And in December 2018, 10x Genomics acquired Spatial Transcriptions, a Stockholm-based leader in spatial genomics.
10X Genomics’ headquarters are in Pleasanton, California.
Researchers and scientists use QIAGEN’s sample and assay technologies for applied testing, molecular diagnostics, and academic and pharmaceutical research. The company is particularly well-known for its innovative therascreen FGFR RGQ RT-PCR Kit, which the company launched as a companion diagnostic for Janssen Biotech’s Balversa (erdafitinib). In 2018, the company’s next-generation-sequencing-related sales hit $140 million and have continued to grow exponentially since.
QIAGEN’s headquarters are in Hilden, Germany, and the company operates over 35 offices on a global scale.
5. Oxford Nanopore Technologies
Oxford Nanopore Technologies’ goal is to enable the analysis of any sample from any location. The company has developed a new generation of sensing technology that uses nanopores to enable precise molecular analysis and is particularly well-known for its PromethION 38 (P48) system, which achieved 7 terabases in a single experiment. (This experiment was part of an internal program designed to validate new equipment ahead of shipping to early users.) Following its $18.1 million revenues reported in 2017, the company reported two financing rounds that demonstrated impressive growth a year later: $131.2 million in March 2018 and $65.6 million in October 2018.
Oxford Nanopore Technologies’ headquarters are in Oxford, UK.
6. Thermo Fisher Scientific
Thermo Fisher Scientific provides equipment, software, services, and consumables that enable researchers to solve complicated analytical challenges, both in clinical laboratories and in pharmaceutical, biotechnological, environmental, and industrial research. The company’s focus on next-generation sequencing only makes up approximately 2% of its overall revenues. That said, in 2018, this 2% represented approximately $418.36 million. In 2018, the company released the ground-breaking Ion GeneStudio S5 Series for next-generation sequencing.
Thermo Fisher Scientific’s headquarters are in Waltham, Massachusetts.
The Standardization of Next-Generation Sequencing
As pioneering companies around the world develop next-generation sequencing techniques and technologies, lab methodologies continue to standardize and become more cost-effective. And, as modernized techniques and technologies emerge, we can expect to see this standardization across more and more applications.
BioTechniques published its first issue in 1983, offering a new angle for the science publishing arena: communication on the latest methods, techniques, and instrumentation for lab researchers. As the first publication to feature peer-reviewed primary research on methods and techniques, BioTechniques cultivated an audience of researchers who not only read but use the journal. BioTechniques features both cutting-edge technologies and ‘common-lab’ methodologies, leaving no stone unturned in life sciences developments. Aside from publishing the print journal, BioTechniques also posts informative news updates, videos, podcasts, infographics, and eBooks on its website.