Sunday, April 25, 2021
The GISAID database has been the workhorse for storing and distributing SARS-CoV-2 sequences during the COVID-19 pandemic and recently passed one million entries. There was some Twitter chatter wondering about the hardware breakdown for this, as it isn't really easy to get out of GISAID. I had done a somewhat arduous partial take at this for my VIB talk last month, but in the meantime GISAID had granted me some additional access to metadata which I've been too busy to tackle. But knowing some others were curious, time to dive back in.
Tuesday, March 02, 2021
More spatial profiling news coming in from AGBT -- Harvard spin-out VizGen is launching in the U.S. an instrument implementing MERFISH technology. This sub-$300K instrument will initially enable panels of up to 500 genes to be profiled, with plans to expand that capacity to 1000. Users either pick from a menu of pre-designed panels or select genes using a Gene Panel Design Tool and VizGen would proceed to manufacturing the panel in around two weeks. VizGen CEO Terry Lo and Senior Director of Marketing Brittany Auclair were kind enough to give me a preview last Friday.
Monday, March 01, 2021
Rant is ON! I've been having an utterly miserable experience with the LabRoots conference software that AGBT is using for their virtual meeting. This year has exposed many of us to a wide variety of teleconference and virtual meeting software and many of the glitches are small and hard to pin down. Or matters of personal preference (though if you don't share mine, you are simply wrong!). But now on two major platforms I've come across major issues with LabRoots
My prediction that spatial would be a hot topic at AGBT was easy to make knowing I was sitting on embargoed news in the spatial space. This morning Rebus Biosystems announced the launch of the Rebus Esper system for wide field spatial profiling of gene panels with subcellular resolution. Rebus is promising that this instrument will offer true walkaway automation from fluidics through imaging, and data processing, requiring only one hour of hands-on time.
Sunday, February 28, 2021
I'll call it now -- the big buzz at this year's AGBT will be around spatial profiling. Trust me, it's not just a hunch. The two current players in the field -- nanoString and 10X Genomics -- both have significant presence in the virtual conference. Don't be surprised to see more players on the field -- just sayin'
Saturday, February 27, 2021
Pacific Biosciences continued its roll of successful business development, snagging $900M from Japan's SoftBank two weeks ago. Combined with a recent secondary stock offering and a major deal with Invitae, PacBio has gone from their self-proclaimed near-derelict status during the Illumina acquisition attempt saga to rolling in cash.
Friday, February 26, 2021
10X Genomics had an online event Wednesday called Xperience (as far as I could tell no Jimmy Hendrix music was used, a missed opportunity!) to lay out their development roadmap. This largely paralleled the presentation given at J.P. Morgan, but there were a few new bits and of course much more technical detail to whet the appetites of scientists -- and judging from a number of very positive tweets I saw today they were successful in that goal. Some of the 10X management was kind enough to walk me through the deck earlier this week as well as permission to borrow images from it, so this summary is based on that as well as watching the presentation. While their name is 10X, the company emphasized progress on three axes: scale, resolution and access and that progress across the three different platforms.
Tuesday, February 09, 2021
There's a question that others pop my way pretty much every year around J.P. Morgan: would I ever attend myself? I'll confess it never occurred to me before I was asked, but that isn't necessarily a deal breaker. I foolishly didn't attend AGBT until 2013 when Alexis Borisy (then CEO of Warp Drive) suggested I go -- I think it was mostly because he thought it was a good investment and probably only secondarily to keep me off the ski slopes for a week -- I shattered my knee just after AGBT 2012 ended. It's an interesting but complex question which I will answer one way here, but freely admit that over coffee I could be nudged one way or the other.