The Bargain Genome: Illumina Cuts Price to $200 With New Sequencer Machines

The costly process of genome sequencing is getting a price cut thanks to genetic variation and biological function analysis solutions company Illumina. Illumina’s HiSeq x Ten Machine dropped the price of sequencing a genome to $1,000 in 2014, and now the company claims its two-pronged NovaSeq X Series machines, when run at full capacity, can lower the price to roughly $200.

The machines have earned Illumina unrivaled market domination in the area of short-read sequencing, though its foray into long-read in an attempt to protect its business fell flat due to heavy competition. Of the two sequencing machines, the NovaSeq X Plus is more powerful, and costs just north of $1 million. It can generate more than 20,000 whole genomes yearly, which puts it 2.5 times ahead of previous sequencers in terms of throughput.

Illumina’s stock, however, doesn’t seem to be tethered to this upward trajectory. Its shares dropped 5% in the two days following its price-change announcement—adding to the disappointing streak that has seen its stock fall 50%. The company has already shrugged off its ambitious $1.2 billion takeover of Pacific Biosciences, citing trepidation over competition. Seemingly undeterred, Illumina leadership also provided an update on its long-read tech undertakings and has promised two new products will hit the market in 2023.