Ultima Genomics, an Israeli startup that works to advance genomic knowledge to “deliver the $100 genome,” came out of stealth mode and revealed that it has already raised $600 million in funding to date. The company did not reveal what its valuation may be, but its investors include general Atlantic, Andreessen Horowitz, D1 Capital, Khosla Ventures, Lightspeed.
This is an example of where the interests of the business world – to make money – converge with the interests of those who wish to advance humanity. The more that we learn about the human genome, the easier it will be to cure all manner of disease and improve the standards of life as we know it. This is where a company like Ultima Genomics comes into play.
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A genome is the genetic material of an organism – any organism – that determines what it will be: what type of animal, how big or small, etc. And in humans the genome is what decides what sort of inborn illnesses people may or may not suffer from like diabetes or autism.
Ultima Genomics declares that it is “unleashing the power of genomics at scale.” The Company’s mission is to drive the scale of genomic information to enable advances in biology and improvements in human health.
With humanity on the cusp of a biological revolution, there is a virtually endless need for more genomic information to address biology’s complexity and dynamic change—and a further need to challenge conventional next-generation sequencing technologies, explains Ultima Genomics. Ultima’s boasts that the new sequencing architecture drives down the costs of sequencing to help overcome the tradeoffs that scientists and clinicians are forced to make between the breadth, depth, and frequency with which they use genomic information.
So, what has Ultima Genomics done so far? Well, its first scientific results from leading research institutes using the platform for whole-genome sequencing, single-cell sequencing, and cancer epigenetics will be presented at AGBT in Florida next week with initial data published this week.
The company collected data from over 200 whole human genomes, generated at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, which was the company’s first early access site, in addition to a co-developed update to Broad’s open-sourced GATK toolkit.
“DNA is nature’s storage media and the instruction set for every living organism, yet with current technologies, we can’t access that information at the scale needed to truly understand complex biology” said Gilad Almogy, Ultima Genomics’ founder and Chief Executive Officer. “Our architecture is intended for radical scaling, and the $100 genome is merely the first example of what it can deliver. We are committed to continuously drive down the cost of genomic information until it is routinely used in every part of the healthcare system.”
“Scientists and clinicians continuously make tradeoffs between the breadth, depth, and frequency of genomic information they collect,” Doron Lipson, Chief Scientific Officer of Ultima Genomics explains. “By overcoming the limitations of conventional next-generation sequencing technologies, researchers can now design experiments and clinical assays that were previously impossible.”