Scripps research institute spin-off iGenomX launches with transformational new library construction technology for DNA sequencing

Novel Library Construction Method to Power Suite of DNA Sequencing Applications. Veteran academic and industry genome experts have joined together to launch iGenomX, a precision library construction company for next-generation sequencing (NGS) applications.

Working within The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), one of the world’s most notable research organizations, iGenomX has developed a patent-pending library construction platform that offers scientists increased control over the manipulation of DNA molecules. By applying precision biochemistry to digital biology, the company aims to deliver affordable and accurate applications for NGS library construction, including droplet-based linked-read assembly of human genomes.

iGenomX was founded to improve sequencer performance on digital biology applications,” said Keith Brown, chief executive officer and co-founder of iGenomX. “Our sequencer-ready libraries are constructed without breaking a single covalent bond. By eliminating the inefficient and expensive steps of fragmentation, repair, tailing, ligation and the associated clean-up steps, we remove the bias and loss of information in the results. More information is obtained from every molecule and costs are reduced.”

The library construction technology was invented in the laboratory of Daniel Salomon, M.D., at TSRI and licensed exclusively to iGenomX. Dr. Salomon continues to lead the research and development team at iGenomX. Kirk Malloy, Ph.D., a 13-year Illumina veteran who recently departed from his role as senior vice president and general manager of the Applied Genomics division, joins iGenomX as a member of the board of directors. Several other notable TSRI scientists, biochemists and bioinformaticians are supporting research and development efforts at iGenomX.

Few whole human genomes have been sequenced to produce an accurate diploid assembly. Long-range information is required and presents a technical challenge to the short-read sequencers capable of whole-genome sequencing. These known challenges have fueled development of new sequencing technologies and assembly protocols. Despite these advances, current technologies remain costly and are prone to artifacts and errors.

iGenomX launches with a fundamentally new roadmap for NGS library construction, which eliminates the source of many compounding sequencing errors. Starting with a small number of isolated long-DNA molecules, barcoded libraries are labeled through controlled polymerization to reduce amplification bias. A genome-wide average coverage of 28x (standard deviation of 21x) results in more than 98 percent coverage of the genome. Ninety percent of the bases are covered within one standard deviation of the mean.

More uniform coverage of long-DNA molecules should improve our ability to detect complex genetic variation, leading to a better understanding of the genomic contribution to disease,” commented Dr. Salomon. “In the coming months, we look forward to the partnerships and collaborations that will prove the utility of this library construction technology.

The company’s lead technology is now in beta-testing, undergoing rigorous scientific validation and performance studies for an expected commercial launch by the end of 2016.

Current sequencing technologies are unable to separate or phase maternally and paternally derived sequence information. They also come with challenging protocols and a high price driven by the need to sequence at greater depth. The challenges associated with creating linked, synthetic reads at a nominal cost with a robust protocol has resulted in a vast majority of incomplete human genome assemblies,” said Kirk Malloy, Ph.D., board director. “The iGenomX library construction technology has the ability to power several genome sequencing applications including linked-read sequencing, whole genome analysis, de novo sequencing and targeted sequencing.”