Research

Ignite acquires new gene-sequencing equipment

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The Ignite Institute for Individualized Health, a new medical research startup has acquired a new gene sequencing machine. The nonprofit research institute will now focus on how to personalize medical care and drug development based on a patient’s genetic makeup. It has entered into a new collaboration with Life Technologies Corp., a Carlsbad, Calif., diagnostics tools company that has a large presence in Frederick. Life Technologies has agreed to sell 100 of its next-generation gene sequencing machines to the Ignite Institute for an undisclosed sum to be paid through the next three years. The machines will start arriving to Ignite by March 31, and they will continue to be shipped to Ignite’s temporary home at the Center of Innovative Technology headquarters in Herndon throughout the year.

These machines represent Life Technologies’ latest advances in gene sequence analysis, allowing Ignite scientists to more precisely zoom in on the presence and cause of an individual patient’s disease based on that person’s DNA. The new product can generate up to 100 gigabases of mappable DNA sequence data at a cost of $6,000 per genome. That’s a significant discount from the roughly $3 billion it took to sequence the 6-some billion letters of the first human genome in 2000. The instrument is very revolutionary in mapping the entire human genome at just unprecedented levels of accuracy. With 100 of these sequencers, Ignite said it will house the largest concentration and highest capacity of genetic sequencing capability in North America. Its scientists will be able to quickly sequence thousands of human genomes, comparing those with and without particular diseases.

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