New Ion PGM™ Solution Outperforms Competitor on Major Performance Metrics for Benchtop Sequencing

Bestselling sequencing system is now even more powerful: new workflow automation, Ion PGM™ chips and software to be deployed to all new and existing users

May 14, 2013, 08:30 ET from Life Technologies Corporation

CARLSBAD, Calif., May 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Life Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: LIFE) today announced that Ion PGM™ now significantly outperforms its competitor on the major performance metrics for benchtop sequencing. It offers the simplest and fastest workflow, lowest cost-per-sample, and highest sensitivity for multiple basic and clinical research applications—all on a sequencer that is a fraction of the cost of the alternative.  

The performance gains are the result of upfront sample prep automation, new Ion PGM™ semiconductor chips that deliver up to 10-fold greater throughput, and improved variant-calling software. Life Technologies is also shipping a redesigned Ion PGM™ Sequencer priced 30 percent less than the original, a savings realized by leveraging the significant economies of scale in electronics manufacturing. See for more.

"Ion PGM™ and Ion AmpliSeq™ technology have transformed gene panel sequencing by making it faster, simpler, and more accessible, and that's made us the number-one benchtop sequencer in the market," said Maneesh Jain, VP of Marketing at Ion Torrent. "Today's new advances make gene panel sequencing on the Ion platform superior to our competitor by every major performance metric."

Ion AmpliSeq™ gene panels enable scientists to amplify over 6,000 targets in a single tube in 3.5 hours with only 10 ng of input sample. In the past 18 months, over 1,500 scientists have designed more than 5,000 different Ion AmpliSeq™ gene panels, indicating broad adoption of this game-changing technology.  

Simplest and fastest* workflow: automated solution for gene panel sequencing Together, Ion AmpliSeq™ gene panels and the Ion PGM™ System deliver the industry's simplest and fastest gene panel workflow. The upcoming Ion Chef™ System provides a fully automated solution for sample prep up front of the Ion PGM™ and Ion Proton™ sequencers. This enables a sample-to-result workflow that far outperforms our competitor, with a more than two-fold advantage in turnaround time, hands-on time, and number of pipetting steps. 

Best accuracy: up to 100 percent sensitivity for multiple gene panels In the past, researchers transitioning from studying individual genes and mutations, to sequencing gene panels were seriously challenged by identifying all the mutations present in the sample. Ion AmpliSeq™ technology coupled with the new, tunable Torrent Suite v3.6 software provides up to 100 percent sensitivity for multiple panels, enabling researchers to see their variants of interest. Additionally, the new Ion Reporter 1.6 Software enables researchers to rapidly annotate and filter variants, completing the gene panel design and analysis workflow.

Two research groups that used an Ion AmpliSeq™ Community panel for sequencing the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes recently showed the accuracy and sensitivity of Ion PGM™ technology. The genes, which have been implicated in hereditary breast and ovarian cancers, are often difficult to sequence because there are many mutations scattered throughout the gene, including many truncating mutations and homopolymer regions. 

"We've moved various genetic tests to the Ion PGM™ System," said Dr. Jose Carlos Machado, a principal investigator at the Institute of Molecular Pathology and Immunology Faculty of Medicine at the University of Porto in Portugal (IPATIMUP) who is helping develop the panel.  "Analysis of the data resulted in an experimental approach with a specificity of 99%, and an analytical sensitivity of 99% with a confidence of 99%. The reduction in hands-on time has released the technical laboratory staff to other aspects of running the laboratory." 

Dr. Machado has been working with researchers from the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, in The Netherlands, including Dr. Marcel Nelen

"We used Ion AmpliSeq™ BRCA1 & BRCA 2 Community Panel design and the Ion PGM™ to sequence 65 difficult samples and haven't missed any mutations," said Dr. Nelen. "So our data shows Sanger sequencing sensitivity and that homopolymer regions have been tackled."

Lowest cost-per-sample for gene panel sequencing: new Ion PGM™ chips The second-generation Ion 314 Chip throughput will jump up to 100 Mb throughput from its original 10 Mb throughput, while the cost will remain at only $99 USD. The Ion 316 Chip will produce up to 1 Gb throughput, compared to its original 100 Mb throughput, and the Ion 318 Chip will produce as much as 2 Gb throughput, compared to its original 1 Gb throughput. As a result, researchers can sequence a typical 200-amplicon/target project for as low as  $100 USD per sample.   

"Previously we sequenced three samples on the original Ion 314 chips," said Dr. Jose Luis Costa, from IPATIMUP, who is also working with an Ion AmpliSeq™ Community panel design for BRCA1 & BRCA2. "With the second-generation Ion 314 chips, we can increase to up to five samples per chip. We're also seeing longer reads and higher read quality--all in all, results point to better quality sequencing at higher run throughput." 

Unmatched accessibility: compelling economics enable sequencing for all The redesigned Ion PGM™ System is now available with two options: a semi-automated system that is half the price of our competitor's system and a fully automated system that is 20 percent less. 

Ion PGM and Ion Proton sequencers are For Research Use Only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures

*Based on head-to-head comparison of comparable gene panels.

About Life Technologies  Life Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ:  LIFE) is a global biotechnology company that is committed to providing the most innovative products and services to leading customers in the fields of scientific research, genetic analysis and applied sciences. With a presence in more than 180 countries, the company's portfolio of 50,000 end-to-end solutions are secured by more than 5,000 patents and licenses that span the entire biological spectrum -- scientific exploration, molecular diagnostics, 21st century forensics, regenerative medicine and agricultural research. Life Technologies has approximately 10,000 employees and had sales of $3.8 billion in 2012.

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SOURCE Life Technologies Corporation