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Published on Aug 24, 2012
The X PRIZE Foundation announces that Life Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: LIFE) is the first team to officially register under the new guidelines for the Archon Genomics X PRIZE presented by Express Scripts where teams will compete for up to $10 million by being the first to rapidly and accurately sequence 100 whole human genomes at a cost of $1,000 or less each to a standard never before achieved. The result of this competition will be the world's first clinical standard that will transform genome sequencing into usable medical information to improve patient diagnosis and treatment.
The Ion Torrent X PRIZE team, led by CEO and Founder Dr. Jonathan Rothberg, will use the company's new benchtop Ion Proton™ Sequencer in the competition. Ion Torrent technology is based on a fundamentally new semiconductor device that enables chemical signals to be directly translated into digital information for the first time, much like the CMOS imager in an iPhone that directly translates photons into electrons to take pictures.
"It would have cost $100 million and taken 33 years to meet this challenge when the competition was announced in 2006," said Dr. Rothberg. "The new Ion Proton sequencer is designed to sequence a human genome for $1,000 in just a few hours. Semiconductor technology is transforming sequencing just as it has transformed every other industry it's touched, driving research and, ultimately, improving health."
To make the competition scientifically valuable and more meaningful to the general public, every team will be given the DNA of 100 centenarians to sequence. These 100 genomic pioneers, who represent a unique population of individuals whose genetic makeup and personal behaviors have contributed to their longevity, are part of the 100 Over 100. They have donated their genomes to this competition and provided insights about the factors impacting healthy aging in order to further medical science.
"Through this competition, the X PRIZE Foundation is setting a very high standard for the industry to ensure that whole genome sequencing technologies are reliable, replicable and can produce diagnostic-quality results. It is revolutionary," said Robert K. Weiss, Vice Chairman & President of the X PRIZE Foundation. "We have been unwilling to compromise the criteria set for the Archon Genomics X PRIZE because the required levels of accuracy, speed and cost must be achieved to truly impact the field of genomics. Ion Torrent's registration and intention to compete is a dramatic statement about their commitment to delivering outstanding, ground breaking technology. They have thrown their hat in a ring that will hopefully soon include other companies vying for the prize and the chance to make history and revolutionize medicine."
Upon completion of the competition, the X PRIZE Foundation will compile a public database of the DNA sequences and cell lines from the 100 Over 100 genomes, giving researchers and scientists from around the world open access to this incredibly rich data. The knowledge gained by compiling and comparing this library will further our understanding of health and longevity. Decoding the secrets to a long and healthy life, including the behavioral choices made along the way, could lead to important learnings that will benefit us all and start a new era of personalized medicine.
--------------------------------------- ABOUT THE X PRIZE FOUNDATION -- http://xprize.org
The X PRIZE Foundation is an educational (501c3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring about radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity, thereby inspiring the formation of new industries and the revitalization of markets that are currently stuck due to existing failures or a commonly held belief that a solution is not possible. The foundation addresses the world's Grand Challenges by creating and managing large-scale, high-profile, incentivized prize competitions that stimulate investment in research and development worth far more than the prize itself. It motivates and inspires brilliant innovators from all disciplines to leverage their intellectual and financial capital.
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