Moore’s Law & Gene Sequencing
The first human genome based on the Sanger technology, a gene sequencing method, occurred in 2001. The Human Genome Project, was a multinational collaboration, that took 13 years to complete, involved hundreds of DNA sequencing machines and cost, approximately between US$0.5-US$1bn.
Since January 2008. The speed of DNA sequencing surpassed Moore’s Law. Due to advances in gene sequencing technologies. Consequently, biologists were inundated with a tsunami of data.
However, the next generation of sequencing technologies, increased the speed at which genes, could be sequenced. Illumina, the market leader in this space, commercialised a suite of high sequencing platforms (HSP); MiSeq, NextSeq 500 and the HiSeq series. These gene sequencing platforms, can sequence a full human genome, in a matter of days.
Through the deployment of large-scale DNA sequencing platforms, like the Roche/454 pyrosequencing genome platform. The scale, in the number and types of genes sequenced is on the rise.
These technologies enabled the sequencing of human microbiomes, the genetic material of microbes. There are over 100 trillion, of them and they consist of bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses that live on and inside the human body. And are essential for human development, immunity and health.
Also the cost of full human genome sequencing costs, dropped significantly from US$10M, 10 years ago to approximately US$1,000 today. In the near future it is expected to fall to just US$100.
Finally, the number of users. The fall in the cost of gene sequencing technologies, provided a gateway for groups that may have found it prohibitable expensive to participate in gene sequencing in the past.
Traditional users of genomic technologies were typically. Research centres, academic and government institutes, hospitals and clinics, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.
Other end users include NGO's and agri-genomics organisations. Hospitals and clinics are the biggest users of genomic technologies.
However, now the general public can leverage (HSP) to support the management of their quantified self. Once an individual is empowered with the knowledge of what diseases they are genetically predisposed to develop over time.
For health conscious consumers and patients, the ability to deploy quantified technologies, to monitor changes in diet and lifestyle may be a powerful motivator. To gain control over health outcomes.
Other companies, incumbent in this space include; Life Technologies, with its’ integrated semiconductor sequencing device, Ion Proton. Thermo Fischer Scientific, Oxford Nanopore Technologies, Complete Genomics, Nabsys, Roche, and Pacific Biosystems.
Thus, for less than US$1,000, a consumer may obtain the full analysis of their genotype. Essentially this is their total inherited genetic identity. In other words, their unique genome.
Analysis of the results of the sequencing of a consumers’ genome through genomic analytics. May reveal information about, physical traits, behaviour and ancestry. How the unique variations in their DNA, affects their outward appearance, and susceptibility to disease.
Furthermore, it is the analysis of the genomic data not the actual sequencing process, that consumes a considerable amount of time.
There are a number of venture capital firms in Europe that specialise in the funding of biotech firms. 181 of them are listed below.
181 European Biotech Venture Capital Firms
A number of direct to consumer companies, such as 23andme, LivingDNA, Pathway Genomics, MyHeritageDNA, AncestoryDNA, DeCodeMe, and Navigenics, have emerged as a result. Targeting consumers interested in obtaining information regarding their genetic history.
At the enterprise level, companies, across tech and healthcare domains have entered into several consortia-based projects. Such as the Roadmap Epigenomics Project, the Human Microbiome Project, the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements, the Genotype Tissue Expression Programme and the Human Immunology Project Consortium.