NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – BGI of China has launched a new desktop sequencing system, BGISEQ-50, that will initially be available only in the Chinese market. In addition, the company said that the China Food and Drug Administration last month approved registration of the BGISEQ-500, a larger desktop sequencer BGI released a year ago, as a medical device.
BGISEQ-50, which BGI presented earlier this month at the 11th International Conference on Genomics (ICG-11) in Shenzhen, is a smaller version of the BGISEQ-500. Both instruments use combinatorial probe-anchor synthesis and DNA nanoballs, which are based on technology originally developed by Complete Genomics, a wholly owned subsidiary of BGI.
"The BGISEQ-50 is a miniaturized desktop sequencer designed to provide rapid and efficient sequencing solutions and to advance precision medicine [and] personalized healthcare, and even digitize life," said BGI COO Duncan Yu in a statement.
BGI said the system will have both research and clinical applications, including noninvasive prenatal testing, preimplantation genetic screening, pathogen detection, and RNA-seq. A spokesperson told GenomeWeb that the company also plans to register the BGISEQ-50 with the CFDA.
BGISEQ-50 can analyze up to 16 NIPT samples per run and has the capacity to run more than 10,000 NIPTs per year at "affordable and accessible" costs, according to the company.
The instrument, which can be used at high altitude, enables automated sample loading and sequencing, which takes 10 hours. The entire process, including sample preparation on an optional automated sample prep system, can be completed in 18 hours.
The machine provides read lengths of 50 base pairs and has an output of 8 gigabases per run and 20 gigabases per day, according to the spokesperson.
BGISEQ-50 will initially be available in China only but BGI plans to sell it in other regions in the future, the spokesperson said.
BGI did not reveal pricing information for the system but the spokesperson said it has the "most competitive price" compared to similar types of sequencers from other manufacturers.
Several undisclosed research institutions and hospitals in China have already applied for early access to the BGISEQ-50 and first shipments are scheduled to go out in early 2017.
The release of the BGISEQ-50 comes a year after BGI launched the BGISEQ-500, a larger desktop sequencing system, at the same conference.
This week, BGI said that the CFDA approved registration of the BGISEQ-500 as a medical device in October, allowing it "to provide more cost-effective and advanced applications in clinical genetic testing."
BGI had previously received approval from the CFDA to run its NIFTY noninvasive prenatal test on two other platforms, BGISEQ-100, which is based on Thermo Fisher Scientific's Ion Torrent technology, and BGISEQ-1000, which uses Complete Genomics' technology.
BGI said it has received more than 500 orders for the BGISEQ-500 so far and has run more than 112,000 tests on the platform since the end of 2015, including more than 20,000 RNA-seq samples.
The China National GeneBank, a nonprofit research institute founded by the Chinese government and BGI, for example, houses 150 BGISEQ-500 instruments at its new facility, which opened in September.
BGI has also started marketing the BGISEQ-500 outside of China, according to the spokesperson.