Genia is an early stage nanopore sequencing company founded in 2009. While they were initially partially funded by Life Technologies. they have recently been acquired by Roche (for $125M upfront and potential milestone payments of $225M). What sets them apart is their use of, and expertise in, analog-to-digital sensors on integrated circuits, which they say offer several advantages over the ‘passive’ chips of other nanopore sequencing companies: increased sensitivity, dynamic creation of the lipid bilayer with one pore per sensor, and independent active control over each of the sensors.
The process of running the chip starts with the creation of a series of lipid bilayers across the surface of the chip, one for each sensor. Next, a single nanopore is introduced into each bilayer, ensuring that each sensor is associated with one and only one nanopore. This process of assembling the sensor-bilayer-nanopore complex is controlled automatically by the electronics of the chip.
Genia was originally intending to measure DNA directly as it traversed the nanopore (similar to what Oxford Nanopore is doing). However, in 2013 they made the decision to switch to NanoTag technology, which they are developing in conjunction with Columbia and Harvard University. This approach involves using a DNA polymerase to incorporate nucleotides with PEG-based NanoTags. As the bases are incorporated the NanoTags are cleaved, allowing them to travel through the pore where they can be measured, generating sequence-specific information.
Genia started testing their alpha chip, which contains ~200 independent sensors, in early 2012. Their latest version, which they started using internally in early 2014, contains 128k sensors. By the time they’re ready to commercially launch the system, they hope to have a chip with ~1M sensors. While they haven’t released exactly how much it will cost to sequence a Gb of DNA, they anticipate that their first instrument will cost ~$10k with $100 consumable chips, with a follow on instrument in the $1000 range. They anticipate that their initial markets will be in targeted DNA sequencing and diagnostic applications.
Status: internal testing
Projected commercial availability: ~2015 (originally 2013)
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