Tuesday, January 31, 2017

On The International Nature of American Biotech

I'll spend two hours in project meetings tomorrow. Around the table will be a group of scientists who are all at the top of the game and among the best in the world at what they do. We will be trying to push forward new antibiotics to save lives. Yes, we are also trying to be rewarded monetarily with it, but we all share a mission to improve humanity by finding new drugs for important medical needs.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Perl: The Bad Habit I Can't Quite Kick

TULIP is a new assembler for long, error-rich reads such as from nanopore. I was a bit stunned to see that TULIP is written in Perl; I was starting to wonder how many holdouts like me there were. Which led to this exchange on Twitter

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Notes on a Conversation with 10X

I've been remiss in writing up a piece on 10X Genomics based on a phone discussion last week with Michael Schnall-Levin (VP Computational Biology and Applications) and Anup Parikh (Director, Product Marketing).  I always appreciate companies reaching out to me and spending time to educate me on their products and plans, and this was a very interesting and enjoyable conversation.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Gen9 Vanishes

Earlier this week one of my colleagues had gotten a somewhat ominous email  from the CEO of Gen9 titled "Special Gen9 Announcement", which led off by saying that their holiday shutdown would be followed with a "corporate restructuring period" during which "Gen9 will not be accepting orders". The next day came an article from Scott Kirsner detailing the effective shutdown of Gen9 and sale of its assets to Ginkgo Bioworks for an undisclosed amount of cash and stock.  Interestingly, Kirsner reports that only 10 Gen9 employees will make the transition and that most of the Gen9 staff was laid off in mid-December.  It is surprising that no gossip of the cutbacks seemed to enter my radar, given a number of personal connections to the company (CEO Kevin Munnelly was a colleague at Millennium; several members of the Gen9 business group were ex-Codon or ex-Infinity and we had done limited business with Gen9)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Bio-Rad Sips Up RainDance

Monday evening brought news that Bio-Rad has further consolidated its grip on the droplet microfluidics space by acquiring RainDance Technologies for an undisclosed price.  Bio-Rad had previously acquired droplet digital PCR company QuantaLife back in October of 2011 and targeted sequencing company GnuBio in April of 2014.  While the droplet digital PCR has been marketed for many years now, the GnuBio effort had gone relatively quiet since the acquisition.  However, Bio-Rad announced the JP Morgan conference that this technology will be launched as OncoDrop late this year.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Illumina Unveils HiSeq Successor NovaSeq

At today's J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference Illumina made a number of small announcements -- some new partnerships, Firefly on track for launch later this year, launch of the single cell workflow partnered with Bio-Rad.  Then CEO Francis deSouza dropped the big news: a new high-end sequencer architecture to ultimately replace all of the HiSeq instruments.  It sounds like an interesting evolution of the Illumina product line, but unfortunately too many headlines and tweets have focused on a distant goal of $100 human genomes.  Worse, not only did some commentators misconstrue the announcement as delivering on $100 genomes, but some also touted a sequencing speed of one hour for a genome which isn't remotely true.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Pondering What Is Lost In Teaching Translation

I'm good at acquiring distractions, and a relatively new one is Quora.  This site allows users to ask questions which are then answered by members of the community.  I lurk in a number of fields, but have answered a few questions related to genomics and related fields of biology.  Tackling a question last night required re-learning some details I was disappointed I had forgotten.  In researching to regain that knowledge, I skimmed a number of study guides online, which leads to this post.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

#JPM17 Genomics and Synthetic Biology Companies

With the 2017 J.P. Morgan Conference in Healthcare (#JPM17) starting Monday, I and others have engaged in early reporting or speculation.  I've tried to compile a list of presenting companies in the genomics, informatics and synthetic biology tool spaces, but these were filtered quickly from a long list of presenting companies so I may have missed some -- please leave comments and I can add.  Also, some of the big conglomerates could speak on these topics but might ignore them, so no promises.  For example, Roche has their pharmaceutical CEO speaking, so we may not hear anything about the PacBio breakup or Genia lawsuit.  All times are Pacific Standard Time and are from the J.P. Morgan, though I've converted to 24-hour time (hopefully successfully!).  You may need to register with J.P. Morgan to follow the links I've provided and access the webcasts when they are  available.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Two Pore Guys Previews Handheld Nanopore Analyte Sensor Ahead of J.P. Morgan Conference

2017 is certainly shaping up to be a big year for nanopore news.  I touched on Oxford Nanopore's very full plate in my speculation about sequencing platforms and we already know of two different legal actions which will be progressing, PacBio vs. Oxford Nanopore and University of California vs. Genia.  James Hadfield's take on possible Illumina announcements at the J.P. Morgan Conference includes an Illumina nanopore device.  That's speculation; today we had a pair of tweets from Two Pore Guys previewing their sensing device and that they will be talking more at J.P. Morgan (all videos from 2PG).

2PG Demo Video - HIV from Two Pore Guys on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

University of California Cries "Thief!" on Genia Patents

As I noted in my last post, the University of California has filed suit against Genia claiming that Genia co-founder Roger Chen misappropriated intellectual property from UC Santa Cruz and the laboratory of Mark Akeson (filings include a bunch of  other well-known nanopore scientists, including David Deamer and Dan Branton).  While the filings are mostly dry, they are enlivened occasionally by such colorful language as "evasive tactics", "aided and abetted" and "stonewalled".  Goaded by Mick Watson, I've dug into the court filings and some of the patents (and obtaining those filings apparently cost me some real money, perhaps approaching $1.0e01 dollars).

Monday, January 02, 2017

Sequencing Technology Outlook, January 2017

Another year of blogging is upon us!  Since the J.P. Morgan Conference starts a week from today and then before long it's time for AGBT.  So if one is going to prognosticate, then there's no time to lose, as announcements could start flying at any time.