A startup company is developing a semiconductor-based nanopore-sequencing platform that will be used for molecular diagnostic applications.
Genia, the Mountain View (CA, USA)-based startup has an alpha version of its single-molecule platform in hand and is currently optimizing the biochemistry for a beta system.
Stefan Roever, CEO and founder of the company declined to provide a commercialization timeline for the system or details regarding expected read length or accuracy, but noted that he believes the platform will be able to sequence genomes at a cost "one order of magnitude less" than other single-molecule systems.
He described the system as a "single-molecule electrical detection sequencing platform," and said that the company expects it to be useful for targeted resequencing and molecular diagnostics that involve both human genomics and viral or bacterial DNA.
A number of other firms are developing nanopore sequencing systems, but Stephen Roever said that Genia's focus on the underlying chip platform sets it apart from competitors.
"We focused on operationalizing the nanopores," Stephen Roever said. "We essentially developed a way to create what are effectively lipid bilayer nanopore complexes, so the biological nanopore is a transmembrane protein that's suspended in a lipid bilayer."
The company has developed a way to "automatically set up whole arrays of [the nanopores] on the surface of a semiconductor chip and integrated circuit," ultimately making a "very complicated" process "massively scalable."
"We have a working platform and chip, and we have the basic building blocks on the biochemistry side. The next step is to take those and assemble them into a robust chemistry," said Mr. Roever. "That's where the focus is going to be and there's a significant amount of work still to be done there."