Based: Redwood City, CA
It's too early in the emergence of high-speed DNA sequencing to predict who will be the ultimate winners, but the field is already littered with losses. In August, Halcyon Molecular's once bright future seemed to dim as a report in GigaOm reported that the Redwood City startup was winding down operations.
As the tech pub reported in August, Halcyon took off about four years back with a great idea to push down the price of decoding a genome--which includes about 3 billion bases--to less than $100 in under 10 minutes. Halcyon's electron microscope-based method of sequencing faced some heavy competition from groups such as Oxford Nanopore, which made waves in the genomics world this year with real-time electronic sequencing technology.
Like other companies in this report, Halcyon attracted investments from some notable backers. Peter Thiel, one of the venture capitalists behind Facebook ($FB), backed brothers William and Michael Andregg's genomics startup, which also drew financial support from serial entrepreneur Elon Musk and the advice of Harvard genomics guru George Church.
On the bright side, Illumina ($ILMN) leads a pack of companies that have succeeded in driving down the price of decoding an entire genome to thousands of dollars with next-generation sequencers. Now futurists are talking about a world in which everyone in developed countries gets their DNA sequenced.
Genomics startup Halcyon Molecular tanks
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