Cambridge start-up gets into gene sequencing biz

Cambridge, Massachusetts has been home to many of the world's most innovating drug developers--and now it's home to a start-up in the biotech fold that is pioneering a pricey new service to map the entire genetic code of individuals. Two people have agreed to fork over the $350,000 fee to Knome to have their genome mapped, a privilege restricted to only a very short list of people whose genomes have been sequenced in high-profile research projects.

"I'd rather spend my money on my genome than a Bentley or an airplane," Dan Stoicescu, a Swiss biotechnology entrepreneur (and millionaire), told The New York Times.

Bargain hunters might want to wait a bit. The price of sequencing--which will open the door to determining individual reactions to drugs and the risk of diseases--is coming down fast, and some technology players in the space are aiming for a $10,000 price tag. The last word on this topic goes to James D. Watson, the scientist whose genome was sequenced earlier by another company as a freebie demonstration project.

"I was in someone's Bentley once--nice car," he told the Times. "Would I rather have my genome sequenced or have a Bentley? Uh, toss up."

- read the report in the New York Times
- see Knome's release on its first clients