Life Technologies $7 million competition for improved DNA sequencing

Ion chip (Life Technologies)

Life Technologies has announced a $7 million dollar competition to improve its new Ion Personal  Genome Machine (PGM) sequencer, which reads DNA using semiconductor technology. At $50,000, it costs about a tenth of other sequencing machines.

Ion semiconductor sequencing is a disruptive technology because it brings the entire design, fabrication and supply chain infrastructure of the semiconductor industry — a $1 trillion investment — to bear on the challenge of DNA sequencing.

Life Technologies also announced a first-of-its-kind crowd sourcing initiative in the life sciences tools and technology industry, called the Life Grand Challenges Contest.  The goal of the $7 million competition is to unlock even bigger opportunities the company is witnessing, while accelerating innovation within the life science community.

There will be seven individual challenges, each with a $1 million prize.  The first three challenges are focused on Ion semiconductor sequencing.  The remaining four challenges will be related to Life Technologies products and will be announced later in 2011.  The three Ion challenges are:

  1. Produce twice as much sequence data.
  2. Do it twice as fast.
  3. Do it with twice the accuracy.

The threshold for winning is to produce results 2X better than the best internal Ion Torrent record at the time of submission.


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