Oxford Nanopore debuts portable version of its high-throughput DNA sequencer

Oxford Nanopore Technologies is rolling out a new version of its high-throughput benchtop DNA sequencer with the goal of providing genetic data to a wide variety of researchers and scientific areas. 

The company’s PromethION 2 Solo is described as a portable device, about the size of a large book, that can deliver high-yield sequencing at an affordable rate. It uses the same sequencing hardware as its larger PromethION predecessors, which run 24 or 48 flow cells.

With its hardware starting at $10,455, Oxford Nanopore said in its announcement that the Solo can deliver comprehensive human genomes for less than $1,000 apiece—or for between $300 and $600 each when operating in bulk and connected to the company’s larger flow cell equipment.

Oxford Nanopore P2 Solo
The P2 Solo.  (Oxford Nanopore)

And, like the PromethION before it, the Solo’s two flow cells can produce nanopore-based sequences of lengths ranging from 20 to more than 4 million bases with a 72-hour run time, the company said, while also directly recording the DNA’s structural variants and methylation configuration from a single flow cell. The device’s new, smaller form factor is geared toward small and medium-sized academic and research labs as well as commercial service providers.

The flexibility will help “anyone, anywhere” access human-scale genomic data, Oxford Nanopore CEO Gordon Sanghera, Ph.D., said in a release. “This provides a broader foundation for those discoveries to be translated to real-world impacts in cancer, human genetics, infectious disease and to reshape our approach to interacting with our environment.”

The higher-throughput Solo device is a step up from the company’s smallest offering, the palm-sized MinION, which can plug directly into a laptop for real-time DNA and RNA sequencing. 

Oxford Nanopore is also developing a slightly bigger brother to the Solo, the PromethION 2, as a standalone device with on-board data analysis and a touchscreen display. The company said it plans to begin shipping the larger PromethION 2, which also operates two of the same flow cells, in the coming months.