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Award-Winning Sequel II System Sets a New Standard for Long-Read Sequencing

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Every year since 2008, The Scientist has canvassed the life-science community to find out which newly released products are having the biggest impact on research. We were proud to have the Sequel System selected as one of the Top 10 Innovations of 2016. And now we’ve been honored again, with the Sequel II System making the Top 10 Innovations of 2019 list.

“Our goal is to identify those products and services that are poised to revolutionize research and advance scientific knowledge,” Scientist editors wrote. 

As part of the competition, a carefully selected panel of expert, independent judges were asked to rank the tools, techniques, methodologies, software, and products according to their potential to foster rapid advances or address specific problems in their respective fields. 

The Sequel II System was chosen for its ability to generate longer reads with greater accuracy, at greater throughput, at a significantly lower cost. 

“PacBio sets the standard for long-read sequencing and this upgrade of their instrument should have high impact on genomics sciences,” said judge H. Steven Wiley, Senior Research Scientist and Laboratory Fellow at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

The launch of the Sequel II System in April represented a significant improvement of our long-read sequencing technology. It contains updated hardware to process the new SMRT Cell 8M, which provides ~8x DNA sequencing data output, as well as reduced project costs and timelines compared to the prior version of the system. The Sequel II System also delivers highly accurate individual long reads (HiFi reads), which provides Sanger-quality reads (>99.9% accuracy).

As part of the early access program, customer Evan Eichler declared it the ‘most effective stand-alone technology for de novo assembly,’ and Shawn Levy, a geneticist at the nonprofit HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, noted that the Sequel II System is also good for analyzing highly repetitive or homologous regions of the genome. Long reads allow researchers to identify structural variants – including translocations in the genome, copy number variants, insertions and deletions – which are complementary to information generated using short read-based approaches.

Our customers have eagerly embraced the new technology and they are enjoying the improved throughput. Over 75 Sequel II Systems have been installed worldwide and they are averaging 160 Gb per SMRT Cell – a ~10-fold increase in yield over the previous Sequel System. The total amount of data generated on the Sequel II Systems this year has already surpassed the data generated on all installed Sequel Systems over the past four years.

The Sequel II System also recently received the Gold Award for the Most Innovative New Product in Genomics – a Life Sciences Industry Award. Since 2002, the Life Science Industry Awards have recognized manufacturers of the “tools of science” that help advance biological research and drug discovery. 

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