Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Bold Genapsys Talk at JPM20

Genapsys' CEO Hesaam Esfandyarpour presented today at the JPM Morgan Conference and delivered an expansive vision of where the company is going both this year an the long term.  This includes planned commercial launch of the 144M chip this year, an aggressive expansion into international markets and another round of "pre-IPO" financing.

Esfandyapour certainly emphasized the size of the sequencer.  Not only did he bring one onto the podium as a prop, but one of the slides was cheeky enough to show a Genapsys sequencer perched atop a NovaSeq.  The low cost of the instrument, about $10K, was also highlighted -- but only late was the similarly size $10K template prep instrument mentioned.  

He also emphasized a number of measurements of sequence quality on the instrument, many using slides from a webinar of Jackson Labs data that was originally presented when the system was launched in November at ASHG.  There's a number of aspects of the presentation slides I could kvetch about (for example, having slides going public still labeled "Confidential and Proprietary") but I'll try to mostly restrain my snark.  But, it's a bit irritating to see Esfandyapour tout as a plus one slide showing that the Q-scores reported by their software are consistently pessimistic in a very predicable way.  He may think the analysts will take this as a good thing; I'd go back and recalibrate my model!

He definitely said the 144M chip will launch in 2020, a point of question among the nattering nabobs of the sequencing world.  A slide suggested that this would not only be used for exomes and transcriptomes, but also for single cell RNA-Seq and whole genomes.  Those last two seem a little ambitious right now with 140 basepair (on average; remember this is an unterminated system so raw read lengths are a distribution).  On the other hand, but without any schedule, late slides did show numbers for paired end reads of 250 bases, so there are per-chip output boosts planned from both longer reads and two reads per fragment.  As I noted in a previous piece, having paired ends opens up a number of possibilities that single ends don't, such as dual barcoding strategies.

On a slide showing a progression but with neither axis labeled, Esfandyapour showed that in the future there will be another piece of hardware to perform library prep and ultimately an integrated unit with sample-to-sequence capability.  He also threw out the possibility of handheld and big iron versions of the system, with the latter taking multiple flowcells.  For long term growth, they plan 500M and 1B sensor chips.

He also proposed that the system can go beyond DNA to measure other analytes such as proteins, "live single cell" and even DNA synthesis.  But no details on any of that.

So Genapsys is storming forward to try to lock down market share both by swiping it from Illumina and opening new markets with their low cost.  A good strategy -- particularly since there are many signs that Omniome is getting set to go commercial, both between customer-facing positions advertised on their website and a new round of $60M in financing.  Sequencing might get rough and tumble soon -- yippee!!


Andrew Hutchison said...

Any word on the Sample Prep for GenapSys? Specifically if customers do not purchase the Sample Prep System (or before it launches), how do users amplify their DNA Library onto the beads before sequencing?

Keith Robison said...


My understanding is that the template prep (library to beads) is shipping now and is what they recommend. I think their sales would have to answer what you do if you don't want one of those.

Anonymous said...

Andrew, Thanks for your question. We have already begun shipping the initial Genapsys Sequencing Sample Prep systems. For those customers that have been running our system, they have been able to use a manual clonal amplification protocol for their libraries. We do recommend utilizing the automated platform. But please let us know if you have additional questions. Lydia Willing Genapsys, Head of Sales and Support Americas - lydia.willing@genapsys.com