SAN FRANCISCO—Addressing analysts at the J.P. Morgan 37th Healthcare Conference on Monday, Illumina CEO Francis deSouza said the sequencing giant is continuing development work toward the $100 genome it first discussed two years ago, without saying when the company will bring the technology to market.
“From our perspective, seeing as we’ll be driving the price down, we will be watching for when we think the time is right in the market to enable that so that it leads into the elasticity of the market, and expands the overall market,” deSouza said during a question-and-answer “breakout” session following his formal presentation at the conference, being held here through Thursday.
deSouza added that Illumina views the development of a $100 genome as a multi-year process combining engineering work—which he said was now in progress—with customer demand.
“You have to make sure the market is ready,” deSouza said. “So we’re spending a lot of time, as you can imagine, talking to our customers, so that they can think about what they would do with the $100 genome.”
Those customers and the broader sequencing industry, he added, had more than a decade to think about and plan for the $1,000 genome—which Illumina and deSouza’s predecessor Jay Flatley introduced at the 2014 J.P. Morgan conference: “We knew the demand was there. People had written business plans over the years.”
So when Illumina disclosed its intent to develop a $100 genome at the 2017 J.P. Morgan conference, deSouza said, “what we wanted to do with the $100 genome announcement was spark that same level of thinking around what you would do with a $100 genome.”
Other topics covered during Illumina’s JP Morgan presentation and breakout session: