Market Overview

Life Technologies Down 6% As Oxford Nanopore Enters Gene Sequencing Market


Shares of Life Technologies (NASDAQ: LIFE) have lost roughly 6% on Friday as a competitor announced that it is entering the gene sequencing market with a portable device. A UK-based privately held company called Oxford Nanopore presented data on two products called MinION and GridION today at the Advances in Genome Biology and Technology conference being held in Florida.

The first of these devices is about the size of a USB memory stick and will go on sale in the second half of 2012 for less than $900. “The USB stick is an absolute game-changer,” Oxford Nanopore Chief Executive Officer Gordon Sanghera said in a telephone interview. “It's plug-and-play, on-the-go DNA sequencing.”

The second device, GridION, is a larger version of MinION and is "designed so that computing equipment can be clustered to sequence an entire human genome in as little as 15 minutes," according to Bloomberg. This news is significant to Life Technologies (LIFE) stock because the company is the current leader in the DNA sequencing market.

On January 10, LIFE said that it is taking orders for its product, ION Proton Sequencer. The machine, which costs $149,000, is designed to provide a full transcript of a person's DNA in one day for $1,000. Oxford Nanopore's MinION device can only be used once and can't decode an entire genome.

The GridION device, however, which is about the size of a videocassette recorder, can sequence an entire genome and is enabled so that it can operate at variable speeds depending on the number of "nodes" being used. According to Oxford Nanopore, using 20 "high-end nodes" would allow the entire human genome to be sequenced in as little as 15 minutes.

The company's CEO Sanghera described the technology like this: “That is some kind of fantastical, space-age thing."

Yes, cool indeed. Find out more at

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