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  • Capillary sequencer market.

    As was mentioned in the 454 forum, over the years sequencer components improve. Yet it doesn't seem like anyone other than Applied Biosystems (Lifetech) has released a capillary sequencer in the last 5 years at least.

    Usage of capillary sequencers are high throughput instruments is largely a thing of the past. But they have their role. Why isn't ABI vulnerable in this market?

    --
    Phillip

  • #2
    Originally posted by pmiguel View Post
    ...Why isn't ABI vulnerable in this market?

    --
    Phillip
    What market?

    While I have no numbers on hand to back me up I'm pretty confident in saying that the market for capillary electrophoresis has dwindled beyond the point where there is any real money to be made. And it's only going to get worse; the few niches capillary may still have had (based on project size and cost) will be further eaten away by the mini machines from the NGS vendors.

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    • #3
      I mostly agree....however I think it's because the market is not only getting smaller, but changing.

      All large/mid scale genome efforts have largely been supplanted by NGS machines...however people still need to routinely sequence small numbers of amplicons, plasmids, etc that they wouldn't dream of firing up even a MiSeq or PGM to sequence (let alone analyze). Which could be why AB is moving towards instruments with modernized tech and smaller numbers of capillaries (3500's). I would imagine that their goal is to put a desktop sized cap machine next to a PGM for validation.

      I agree that finding funding (or a business case) that would support entering a 20+ year old market with a single firmly entrenched competitor would be daunting. Applied markets like forensics and food testing have so much invested in capillary assays that displacing those would be nearly impossible without a dramatic cost/speed improvement. I would also imagine that AB has already shrunk the current system to its practical limits (cost/technology-wise)...so only a novel technology would hope to displace it. As far as I know, no other technology exists that does what a 3730 can do, but faster/better/cheaper.

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      • #4
        Well...

        If cap validation becomes a regulatory standard in whole human genome sequencing diagnosis, these instruments will participate with next gen sequencers in the diagnostic laboratory. Up until the time that whole human genome sequencing can be refined to the point of accepted diagnostic accuracy in all situations. This eventuality I also really wonder about due to somatic mutations and chromosomal abnormalities which cancer biology is beginning to describe. However state (US) public health departments are routinely screening newborns for 50 or fewer genetic conditions at present, so capillary sequencing may still be called upon to validate rare conditions in patients for many years.

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        • #5
          It's worth noting that ABI did have competition & I believe both (LiCor & Amersham) have bailed from the market. Plus, with the large genome centers dumping machines on the market the cost of used instruments has plummeted. Not at all enticing for a new entrant.

          There used to be a number of labs making noise about microfluidic Sanger instruments; I don't know if many of those efforts are active or the funding has dried up for such.

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