In the news
Are budget cuts pushing WGS into clinics?
Research cuts are driving sequencing companies to take their machines into the clinic, according to an article in Nature.
As the US federal government reduces funding for research, with predictions for bigger cuts to follow, scientists are increasingly reluctant to fork out on big spend items, such as sequencing machines. Several makers of these machines are lowering their earnings forecast and laying off staff as a result.In a bid to get revenue back on track, many of these companies are looking to the clinic where whole genome sequencing is beginning to make inroads. Illumina, for example, will set up a business unit to promote the use of its tools in clinical diagnostics, and hopes that the imminent release of a lower-cost version of its MiSeq sequencing machine will boost sales. Life Technologies is touting a US$9-million deal to sell forensic-analysis systems in Russia, and underscored its double-digit growth in China, saying that it will increasingly turn its attention to Asia.
Most countries have reasonably protected budgets for scientific research, despite the recession, though it still makes sense for companies to look towards the Asian markets as a growth area. However, whilst the predicted move of genome sequencing into clinical application is an important development, health budgets in many countries may be more squeezed than research ones.