GenapSys 2020 Review and 2021 Predictions

GenapSys is the last company on my list presenting at JPMorgan Health this year, so they’re next on the list for updates. The rest (Oxford Nanopore, BGI, Roche/Genia/Stratos, Omniome, etc) can wait a bit, but I clearly need a deadline to get any writing done!

2020 Prediction

Here's what I said:

“I predict that the GenapSys system will do moderately well in limited applications with their very low capital cost machine. The first two chips (1M and 16M) are suited for small organisms and QC-type runs. But at $600 per run ($300 for prep and $300 for sequencing), the cost per Gb just isn’t compelling. Things won’t start getting exciting until they come out with a completely automated 144M chip. I don’t think they’ll pull that off in 2020.”

It turns out I was being too generous. I was right about the 144M chip not being launched, but I’m not sure we can say they did “moderately well in limited applications”. I asked a couple of early customers of the Genius System why they bought the platform. The answers were along the lines of “Just because” and “I wanted to see if we could use it for anything”. Early in the year (well before the pandemic took hold in the US) it appears that they had let go most of their commercial staff (based on LinkedIn descriptions and discussions with various colleagues). Mid-year check-ins with those early customers didn’t yield a better story - no runs had been done and a general lack of support from GenapSys (with lots of turnover - rarely did the customer ever talk to the same support person twice). No 144M chip, reduced commercial team, disappointed customers - not a good year for GenapSys and not all of it can be blamed on the pandemic.

Looking forward to 2021

GenapSys has made a habit of overpromising and underdelivering. I’m sure they’ll announce (again) the 144M chip at JPM, but it will be hard to know what they’ll really deliver. Since they’re presenting, I’m assuming they’ve made some progress, so I’ll go out on a limb and say they’ll at least get the 144M chip into early access in 2021. I'm not so sure about them being competitive in the market.

Shawn Baker

View posts by Shawn Baker
Founder and principal consultant at SanDiegOmics

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