EdgeBio CEO Dean Gaalaas: Ion PGM changed sequencing turnaround from weeks to days
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Published on May 23, 2012
The Ion Bus stops at EdgeBio in Gaithersburg, Maryland and we talk with President and CEO Dean Gaalaas about how the company is using the Ion PGM Sequencer in their service lab (www.iontorrent.com). The Ion PGM Sequencer's speed has enabled EdgeBio to dramatically increase their sequencing turnaround times, from weeks to days. Here is a partial transcript of the interview:
MALE SPEAKER: State your name for the record.
DEAN GAALAAS: So I'm Dean Gaalaas. I'm the President and CEO of Edgebio here in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
Dr. CHRIS HOPKINS: Tell us where we are, who you are and what you do here?
DEAN GAALAAS: So thanks for coming here today. We're at Edgebio's off season in Gaithersburg, Maryland. We are a 21 year old company. We started off in molecular biology reagent products, consumables to support DNA sequencing back in the Sanger sequencing days. And now in the past three years what you see here is we've developed and built state of the art next generation sequencing lab for service for those people who don't either have the wherewithal to purchase a next generation instrument or maybe have a budget that's more attune toward outsourcing and need the scale and infrastructure of say a mini genome lab, we offer sequencing from sanger sequencing on the ABI 3730s to next generation sequencing on the SOLiD platform as well as the Ion Torrent PGM.
DR. CHRIS HOPKINS: How has next-generation sequencing changed the services you provide?
DEAN GAALAAS: So it really was a big leap of faith to us. Even though we've been in business for at that point 17, 17-1/2 years we saw the coming need for next generation sequencing. We grew up making products and we quickly surveyed the situation and found out we should really start to think about developing products for the next generation sequences. So we had this idea of building service lab, kind of a real world R&D to build better products. What we found out quickly was that wasn't the true business model. The true business model was to build the next generation sequencing service lab because so many people wanted access to the technology had not really grown up in sequencing. Had nowhere to start, didn't know what to do, but had read a paper or had a really cool idea about how to further their science through next generation sequencing. The fact is the advent of these sequencers particularly the Ion Torrent first genome machine has really democratized sequencing. What I mean is bringing the
costs down and making sequencing affordable and accessible to researchers who never would have considered using this as a paradigm to further their research. But still they had no idea how to start. It's one thing to make it affordable, but then how do I train, how do I run these, how do I prepare the samples, how do I get the good data, what do I do with the data after it generates? So not only do we have the capability to generate the sequencing data asked, we also have a team of bioinformaticians led by Justin Johnson who can help you parse your data by setting the data in meaningful ways for a researcher. One researcher may want to do one thing where another researcher doing a very similar experiment may want to look at a wholly different set of data and that's where our bio clinicians come in.
DR. CHRIS HOPKINS: How fast is PGM?
DEAN GAALAAS: Sure, the personal genome machine was a fascinating instrument to us. A low price point, desktop model and offering the big kick of course was the quick turnaround time. We can go from a sample coming in from a researcher say from wherever on the globe and we can have a simple process on the machine, data generated, off the machine, analyzed and back up to the customer in anywhere from four to five days.
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