GenapSys launches tabletop DNA sequencer alongside $90M VC haul

GenapSys has unveiled its long-awaited compact and more affordable high-throughput DNA sequencer, alongside a $90 million venture capital raise to help jump-start its commercial launch.  

Weighing less than 10 pounds and with a tabletop footprint about the size of a piece of standard printer paper, GenapSys’ platform uses direct-contact electronic sequencing chips equipped with millions of individual sensors that track changes in impedance as nucleotides are incorporated. 

This allows for uses in small genome and RNA sequencing, gene editing validation and targeted single cell assay sequencing by delivering 10 million to 13 million reads with an average length of 150 base pairs over the course of a day. The company has begun taking orders in the U.S. and has priced the system at just under $10,000, with plans for global availability next year.

“We are entering a multi-decade era of genomics that will revolutionize many industries, including healthcare diagnostics, pharmaceutical discovery, personalized medicine, food testing, forensics, agriculture, biology and beyond—but until now, we’ve lacked the access necessary to realize this potential,” GenapSys founder and CEO Hesaam Esfandyarpour said in a statement (PDF). “With our new sequencer, we can rapidly enable and scale genomics power to every researcher, physician, provider and patient around the world.” 

RELATED: GenapSys nails down $37M to advance next-generation gene sequencing tech

Additionally, with up to eight sequencers linked to one computer, a cluster of the company’s standard chips can be used to multiplex target panels, as well as exome and transcriptome sequencing. GenapSys also plans to launch a single, higher-capacity chip in 2020.

The company’s $90 million series C round was led by Foresite Capital to help bring GenapSys’ total funding to date up to $166 million.   

“We believe high accuracy, low-cost distributed sequencing will enable a much larger market for sequencing," said Jim Tananbaum, Foresite’s co-founder and managing director. "We're very excited about the potential in this area."