PacBio starts shipping Real-Time sequencing machine

This week Pacific Biosciences--the biotech superstar that has raised hundreds of millions in venture capital and launched an IPO--started shipping its PacBio RS system. According to a release, the DNA sequencing system incorporates single molecule sequencing techniques and advanced analytics to reveal biology in real time--and it gives results to users in less than a day versus a week for current machines. The units, which BusinessWeek says look like "fancier-than-usual copier equipment," retail for $700,000 a piece.

The first shipments will head to biotech companies, commercial service providers, governmental institutions and several national defense labs and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The technology was field-tested at 11 laboratories before its commercial launch. The company hopes PacBio RS could significantly advance researchers' ability to understand genetics. "Today, it bestows scientists with the power to watch the body's mechanism for decoding DNA," observes BusinessWeek. "Tomorrow it could apply similar steps to studying all manner of molecular creatures from RNA to ribosomes, giving pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and super-food makers fresh insights on the behaviors of viruses and the effects of environmental conditions on organisms over time.

Before going public, the developer raised $370 million in venture capital. The 2009 Fierce 15 winner's IPO garnered $200 million last year.

- check out the PacBio release
- here's more from BusinessWeek