Weekly Twitter Roundup

Each week there are a number of stories and developments that, for one reason or another, don’t find their way into a full-length posting on the Genomics Law Report. Here’s a recap of what I was Tweeting this week @genomicslawyer:

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Filed under General Interest, Industry News

Life Technologies Fires Latest Sequencing Salvo

SOLiD 4Another week, another drop in the cost of whole-genome sequencing. The latest announcement comes from Life Technologies, which yesterday announced the launch of its SOLiD 4 sequencing system. The details of the announcement are well-covered by GenomeWeb and Matthew Herper of Forbes.com.

In brief, the SOLiD 4 generates 100 gigabases of data per run at a cost of $6,000 per genome, a cost that appears to account solely for the consumables and does not include the cost of the machine or of interpreting all of that sequence data. According to GenomeWeb, Life is also promising an upgrade to its system – SOLiD 4hq – in the second half of 2010 which it expects to triple the data output at half of the cost: 300 megabases per run, $3,000 per sequence.

As for the impact of Life’s SOLiD 4 announcement, Matthew Herper hits the nail on the head:

But although the news is good for Life and will keep it in the game as the price of decoding the genetic code continues to drop, the specs of this new machine don’t seem good enough to upset Illumina’s place as the first choice of geneticists. “It’s a solid improvement, but I don’t think this changes the game,” says Isaac Ro, an analyst at Leerink Swan who follows both companies.


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Filed under Bioinformatics/IT, Genetic Testing/Screening, Genomic Sequencing, Genomics & Medicine, Genomics & Society, Industry News

Raising Private Capital

Bench to Market (article)This commentary in the Genomics Law Report’s ongoing series Bench to Market is contributed by Mark O. Henry, Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson, P.A.

Last week in the Bench to Market series, we discussed the license-out business model as an alternative to raising capital for the commercialization process. Because the business idea is “your baby,” however, you are likely reluctant to let go of it so early in its journey. Instead, you may prefer the challenge of finding the money to bring your idea to market yourself.

We discussed earlier in this series the government funding that may be available for science and technology related research. Unfortunately, this source of funding does not pay for the expenses of commercialization. Thus, once you have maxed out your credit cards and fully drawn the home equity line your spouse warned you not to set up in the first place, you are likely to turn to the private sector to raise capital.


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Filed under Badges, Bench to Market

Meet the New deCODE, Same as the Old deCODE?

BankruptcyWhen deCODE genetics declared bankruptcy last fall it made a big splash. Geneticists pondered the future of the Icelandic biotechnology company’s one-of-a-kind genetic database and research platform, while investors and creditors wondered if they were going to be left out in the cold.

The initial bankruptcy buzz gave way over the past several months to a steady but relatively unremarkable stream of filings in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware (the case is No. 09-14063). Last week, however, brought a noteworthy docket entry, with the bankruptcy court approving the sale of most of deCODE genetics Inc.’s assets to Saga Investments LLC (pdf) – an investment company whose owners include Polaris Venture Partners, ARCH Venture Partners and genomic sequencing giant (and DTC genomics dabbler) Illumina.

A Holiday Fire-Sale? The sale, as approved by the bankruptcy court, sends substantially all of deCODE genetics Inc.’s assets – including its valuable genetic research engine that is driven in part by its access to its large Icelandic population database – to Saga Investments. As we described back in November, the bankruptcy sale process required a Stalking Horse bidder (Saga Investments) and a sale and auction process that, at least in theory, allowed other interested parties a chance to step in and make a bid for deCODE’s assets. No other bidders came forward, and the sale to Saga Investments was approved in just under two months.


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Filed under Bioinformatics/IT, Direct-to-Consumer Services, Genetic Testing/Screening, Genomic Sequencing, Industry News, Informed Consent, International Developments, International News, Privacy

Weekly Twitter Roundup

Each week there are a number of stories and developments that, for one reason or another, don’t find their way into a full-length posting on the Genomics Law Report. Here’s a recap of what I was Tweeting this week @genomicslawyer:

Filed under General Interest, Industry News, Legal & Regulatory

What ELSI Was New: MagCloud Edition

What ELSI is new (article)

There are now three ways to review last fall’s guest commentary series, What ELSI is New? You can read the individual commentaries online, download the entire series as a free e-book (pdf) or, by popular demand, order a bound copy of the series through MagCloud.

MagCloud allows publishers to create a glossy, bound magazine from a standard PDF and prints and ships copies on demand. MagCloud charges 20 cents per page plus any additional publisher markup (there is no additional markup for the What ELSI is New? series) for its service.

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Filed under Badges, What ELSI is New?

GLR Update: In The Battle for Sequencing Supremacy, is 128 > $10,000?

hiseq_2000_The biggest industry developments last week were being announced at J.P. Morgan’s 28th Annual Healthcare Conference in San Francisco. The Genomics Law Report covered Illumina’s announcement of its new next-generation genomic sequencing machine (Another Stop on the Road to the $1,000 Genome), the HiSeq 2000, which promises to sequence an entire genome in one week for $10,000. Illumina’s $10,000 price point represents a new commercial sequencing benchmark, but it is unlikely to deter the company’s competitors. Those include sequencing-as-a-service provider Complete Genomics, which followed up Illumina’s announcement with one of its own, declaring that it plans to sequence up to one million human genomes worldwide over the next five years.

I’ve discussed previously the importance of analyzing just what you get when you purchase a whole-genome sequence. Illumina’s $10,000 genome does not include the cost of the machine or the necessary data analysis, whereas Complete Genomics offers human genome sequences starting at $20,000 while providing its own hardware and data analysis. However, as Matthew Herper of Forbes pointed out last week, the real number to pay attention to in Illumina’s announcement may have been 128—the number of new Illumina machines that BGI committed to buy—and not $10,000. As this recent survey of research labs by In Sequence suggests, current or so-called “second-generation” sequencing platforms, including the one utilized by the HiSeq 2000, continue to make inroads into sequencing centers worldwide, posing an obstacle to Complete Genomics and other newcomers attempting to crack the genomic sequencing space that might not be overcome on price alone.

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Filed under Bioinformatics/IT, Genomic Sequencing, Industry News

GLR Update: The Fate of Follow-On Biologics Remains Uncertain

Drugs & MoneyWhen the GLR looked last month at the ongoing debate over follow-on biologics, we noted that one of the most contentious issues in creating a regulatory approval pathway for these generic biological drugs centered on the appropriate length of the market exclusivity to be provided to developers of original biologics. Even as we asked the question (Follow-on Biologics: How Much Incentive Do We Need?), it appeared that Congress had its answer, with both the Senate and House health care reform packages containing follow-on biologics provisions that would provide original biologics developers with 12 years of market exclusivity.

A month later, with President Obama pushing for a last-minute reduction in that number (to 10 years, possibly fewer), and with the implications of Scott Brown’s Senate victory still being digested, the picture is considerably murkier. There is no guarantee that there will be follow-on biologics legislation at all, let alone where the final market exclusivity period will wind up.

Filed under Genomic Policymaking, Genomics & Medicine, Patents & IP, Pending Litigation

The License-Out as a Business Model

Bench to Market (article)This commentary in the Genomics Law Report’s ongoing series Bench to Market is contributed by Steve Newmark, Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson, P.A.

The drive to create something new and useful is an almost universal trait of entrepreneurs. This passion, however, is not always accompanied by the same enthusiasm for managing the more mundane tasks of taking an idea from a research lab or academia and making it available in the marketplace. In addition to the fundamental need to raise capital, the commercialization process requires a number of time-consuming and less glamorous steps, such as forming a company, hiring employees, establishing accounting systems, drafting contracts, securing appropriate facilities and, if all goes well, marketing and selling products and services. The process can often be frustrating, difficult and even infuriating at times, particularly for scientists or researchers. So, what can an entrepreneur, who wants to maintain her day job as a professor, physician or other professional but doesn’t want her valuable innovation to sit idle, do?


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Filed under Badges, Bench to Market, General Interest, Patents & IP

Weekly Twitter Roundup

Each week there are a number of stories and developments that, for one reason or another, don’t find their way into a full-length posting on the Genomics Law Report. Here’s a recap of what I was Tweeting this week @genomicslawyer:

Filed under General Interest