Ultima Genomics Promises to Deliver the “$100 Genome”

June 2, 2022

A New Player in Genomic Sequencing

Yesterday, UIltima Genomics left stealth mode and announced that they have secured $600 million in funding from leading investors for a new genomic sequencing platform that reduces the cost of sequencing an entire human genome to a mere $100.

For the past two decades, the “$1000 genome” has been considered a holy grail of genomics, but even that price point can be cost prohibitive for the kinds of large-scale genomics studies needed for the future of molecular biology. Ultima has taken a step further with a promise to deliver the same or higher quality sequencing data, single cell sequencing data and multi-omics data for a tenth of the price.

How is Ultima Different from its Competitors?

Ultima has published some pre-print data, with the majority of their work being presented next week at the AGBT conference in Florida. The specifics of their new platform center on three key points. 

They have done away with the traditional flow cell and have an “open” substrate that they claim allows for more reads at a lower cost. Secondly, they use natural nucleotides rather than the truncating nucleotides used for existing sequencing-by-synthesis approaches, which they claim allows for faster and more accurate sequencing reactions. Finally is new hardware itself, which Ultima claims allows for high speed scanning of large surfaces with efficient use of reagents.

The Need for Genomics At Scale

What really stands out about Ultima Genomics’ promise of $100 genome sequencing technology is the immediate applicability to the growing fields of genomic medicine, cancer genomics and more. Bioinformatics analysis of genomic data has already yielded incredible biological insights, but these analyses are only as robust as the largest datasets available.

A less expensive, high quality, high throughput sequencing technology that improves sequencing breadth, or getting the most sequence data out of every sample, as well as depth- the ability to detect rare single cells or DNA fragments, as Ultima claims, will allow genomics to take a massive step forward. Lower cost means bigger datasets, which translates to more accurate information and actionable biological insights.

Outsourcing Bioinformatics Analysis

With increased amounts of genomic, single-cell and multi-omics data available, building robust cloud storage infrastructure and analytical pipelines will be more important than ever. These can seem like daunting computational tasks, but outsourcing your bioinformatics analyses to experts like our team at Bridge Informatics helps eliminate common challenges with these projects. If you’re interested, book a free discovery call with us today to discuss your project needs.

Jane Cook, Journalist & Content Writer, Bridge Informatics

Jane is a Content Writer at Bridge Informatics, a professional services firm that helps biotech customers implement advanced techniques in management and analysis of genomic data. Bridge Informatics focuses on data mining, machine learning, and various bioinformatic techniques to discover biomarkers and companion diagnostics. If you’re interested in reaching out, please email daniel.dacey@old.bridgeinformatics.com or dan.ryder@old.bridgeinformatics.com.





illustration of a genomic sequence

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