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.

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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.