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New Opportunities Sparked by Advances in Next-Generation Sequencing

Linda Seaton
| Aug 02, 2013

EdgeBio opened a services labThere’s a tendency to view the impact of next-generation sequencing (NGS) from a purely scientific standpoint. That’s not too surprising. Each new advance provides us with an even better tool to unravel more about the role genes and gene mutations play in the development and survival of every life form on earth. Humans, animals, plants, insects, and microbes—scientists are using NGS tools to study them all.

Yet, it’s not just scientists who are leveraging the speed, accuracy and cost-effectiveness NGS offers. It’s fast becoming a tool for commercial applications. Farmers and ranchers are using it to refine their crop and livestock breeding methods. Public health officials are using it to track outbreaks. NGS has also spurred the growth of sequencing service companies, who are eager to fulfill all or part of the sequencing needs of a wide range of customers.

One such company is EdgeBio. Seven years ago, EdgeBio wasn’t even a sequencing service provider. It was a manufacturer of miniprep and dye terminator kits to support Sanger-based DNA sequencing. But as the speed and efficiency of NGS improved, company CEO Dean Gaalaas, saw a market opportunity—the development of NGS kits for the clinical research and laboratory environments. To fuel the R&D of these products, EdgeBio opened a services laboratory for the research market and decided to pick one platform and become an expert in it. That platform was the Illumina HiSeq system. Since then, EdgeBio has obtained CLIA certification and its sequencing services are now a vital part of its business. While it still offers kits, it’s fast approaching a 50:50 balance between its research and clinical sequencing services. Amazing how a new tool can transform a business.  

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Image: Orlando Florin Rosu,