Life Technologies announces a series of investments and new technologies for genetic sequencing research

Life Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ:LIFE), a provider of innovative life science solutions, today announced a series of investments and new technologies designed to extend the use of sequencing in the research arena and make it more relevant for physicians.

“We are committed to taking the steps necessary, from the introduction of new products to greater financial investments and educational initiatives, to enable the translation of sequencing solutions from the research lab to the clinic.”

The company introduced the Applied Biosystems SOLiD™ 4 Sequencing System, the most advanced next-generation genomic analysis sequencing system on the market, generating up to 100 gigabases of mappable sequence data per run at a cost of $6,000 per genome. The system, which leverages proprietary advances in sequencing chemistry, will be available as an upgrade for all SOLiD installations in the first quarter of 2010. The company also announced that in the second half of the year, the SOLiD 4 System can be upgraded with the SOLiD 4hq package, which will generate up to 300 gigabases of mappable sequence data per run and deliver unprecedented accuracy of 99.99 percent, enabling customers to sequence the highest quality whole genome for a cost of $3,000.

Concurrent with the launch of the SOLiD 4 System, researchers will also be able to reduce overall sequencing costs by automating their workflow through the introduction of the Applied Biosystems EZ Bead™ System. The EZ Bead System dramatically improves the efficiency of sample preparation and reduces hands-on and turnaround time by as much as 90 percent.

"For sequencing to transition into a clinical diagnostic assay for conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and autism, it needs to be precise, reproducible and cost effective. SOLiD 4 is the first sequencing system to combine these attributes, promising to impact research and diagnostic applications," said Dr. Stephen Scherer, Director of the University of Toronto McLaughlin Centre and the Toronto Centre for Applied Genomics, and Senior Scientist at The Hospital for Sick Children.

“This system is another example of why the Applied Biosystems brand has been synonymous with cutting edge sequencing technology for more than two decades,” said Gregory T. Lucier, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Life Technologies. “We remain committed to our customers, the SOLiD platform, and its current and future potential to help advance research that will ultimately revolutionize the practice of medicine.”

The SOLiD 4 System represents Life Technologies’ latest offering in the sequencing market. The company is the leading provider of instruments across the sequencing spectrum, including the recently launched 3500 and 3500Dx Series Genetic Analyzers and other gold standard technologies in capillary electrophoresis sequencing. For more information on the SOLiD™ 4 Sequencing System, visit

Life Technologies also announced today that it will dedicate approximately $100 million over the next three years to address the challenge of bioinformatics – the analysis and interpretation of the vast amounts of data generated by whole genome sequencing. As a first step, the company announced the introduction of BioScope™, an appliance- or cloud-enabled software solution that decreases analysis time by 80 percent, enables industry leading SNP detection and transcriptome analysis, and allows researchers to export mappable sequence data into a standardized base sequence format. Moving forward, Life Technologies will also invest in improving the archiving, analysis and communication of sequencing information to help drive the adoption of genomics in both research and medicine.

Life Technologies’ Foundation announces $5 million in grants to advance molecular medicine

Separately, the Life Technologies Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Life Technologies, announced $5 million in grants over the next two years to accelerate the education of physicians in the field of molecular medicine. In its first grants under this objective, the Foundation has granted a total of $600,000 to the Scripps Translational Science Institute and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

Scripps, under the direction of Dr. Eric Topol, its director and a prominent cardiologist and geneticist, will use the funds to create a new accreditation board, the Association of Genomic Medicine (AGM), in 2010 for physicians specializing in molecular medicine. The AGM will be tasked with educating physicians and healthcare professionals in this rapidly developing field by establishing an educational curriculum that would lead to the accreditation of physicians in genomic medicine.

“There is a profound unmet need in educating doctors on the advances being made in genomics,” Topol said. “Only a small percentage of practicing physicians today feel comfortable with their knowledge base of genomic and molecular medicine. It's commendable that the Life Technologies Foundation has been one of the first to recognize and take action to address this need. There is unprecedented progress in the field that, with enhanced educational programs, will allow physicians to individualize the use of medications and even prevent the onset of diseases in the future.”

TGen, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization focused on developing earlier diagnostics and smarter treatments, will use the Foundation funding for two fellowships in genomic and molecular medicine focused on the treatment of rare cancers. Under the direction of Dr. Daniel Von Hoff, TGen’s physician in chief, the funds will also be used for workshops for physicians interested in understanding how genomics can be used to change the course of medical treatment.

“The pace of innovation is rapid, and the need for solutions that affect human health requires ever greater velocity,” Lucier said. “We are committed to taking the steps necessary, from the introduction of new products to greater financial investments and educational initiatives, to enable the translation of sequencing solutions from the research lab to the clinic.”


 Life Technologies Corporation


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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