Next generation sequencing is an umbrella term that applies to a broad range of advanced techniques used to identify the molecular sequencing of nucleic acid. Used to sequence strands of both DNA and RNA, these NGS techniques constitute a tremendous leap forward when compared with those used by the Human Genome Project when it completed the first complete map of the human genome in the early 2000s.
In addition to performing genomic sequencing much faster and more efficiently, next generation sequencing has evolved to complete the job at a fraction of the cost. In fact, after working for decades to sequence an individual human genome for less than $1000, companies have now set their sights on reducing per-genome costs to less than $100.
Drawing upon research completed by News Anyway, the following list of companies represents five of the most influential in the field of next generation sequencing today. Together, they promise to push NGS into a bold new future.
1. Thermo Fisher Scientific (headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts)
Perhaps the most well-known name in this article, Thermo Fisher Scientific currently ranks 95th on the Fortune 500 list. Although its next generation sequencing activities contribute a mere 2 percent of its total revenues, this leading laboratory equipment and services company has taken NGS to the next level with its revolutionary Ion GeneStudio S5 Series.
2. Agilent Technologies (headquartered in Santa Clara, California)
Another Fortune 500 company, Agilent Technologies is responsible for some of the very best DNA sequencing tools on the market today. It is also one of the most trusted names in clinical genomic research and laboratory analysis. Agilent Technologies made a big mark in the NGS field in 2018, when it generated $250 million in annual revenue from its groundbreaking next generation sequencing product line. Its NGS products accounted for nearly 27 percent of its overall Diagnostics and Genomics Group (DGG) assets at this relatively early date. Agilent Technologies’ NGS line has continued to experience exponential growth since then.
3. Illumina (headquartered in San Diego, California)
Regarded by many as the global leader in NGS, Illumina creates, produces, and markets fully integrated systems for the examination of genetic variation and its biological implications. Over the past five years, the company’s NGS platforms and tools have benefited from mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships with organizations such as Pacific Biosciences of California and the Lundbeck Foundation GeoGenetics Centre of the University of Copenhagen.
4. QIAGEN (headquartered in Hilden, Germany)
Currently supporting a network of more than 35 offices worldwide, QIAGEN offers some of the most popular sample and assay modalities for molecular diagnostics and applied testing. Academic and pharmaceutical researchers from around the globe use products such as the highly innovative QIAGEN therascreen FGFR RGQ RT-PCR Kit. Created as a companion diagnostic (CDx) tool for Janssen Biotech’s Balversa, this kit stands today as the only urothelial cancer CDx with approval through the US Food and Drug Administration.
5. Oxford Nanopore Technologies (headquartered in Oxford, United Kingdom)
The goal of Oxford Nanopore Technologies may be simple to define, but it is certainly difficult to achieve. In short, the company aims to make the NGS analysis of any sample possible from any location. To further these ends, Oxford Nanopore has taken a whole new approach to sensing technology by using nanopores. Pores that are merely a nanometer in diameter, nanopores are capable of extremely precise molecular analysis. Drawing upon the power of this technology, Oxford Nanopore’s PromethION 38 (P48) system was able to produce seven terabases of genetic sequence data in a single experiment.