Illumina’s 2022 Product Roadmap

The new sequencer we’ve been waiting for

Chemistry X (er, XLEAP-SBS) is coming to the NovaSeq! 2.5 times more data (50B clusters, 2x150b reads)! Faster cycle times!  Higher accuracy (I’ve seen both 2X and 3X). And a brand new running cost as low as $2/Gb. Yay! 

But it’s going to cost you $1.25M to get your hands on it - this is not an upgrade but a new machine - the NovaSeq X and X Plus. A bummer for anyone who just bought a NovaSeq, but it has been five years since NovaSeq was launched. That’s a long, long tenure for a flagship sequencer. (And if you DID just buy one, what were you thinking?!) They also seem to have quietly dropped the “2X longer reads” from the original Chemistry X specs. Now there’s just the “potential” for longer reads. So, boo?

There’s also some nice tweaking of reagents (less packaging, more stuff sent at room temp). Nice, to be sure, but it gets a shocking amount of attention in the official press release. 

All told, this isn’t too surprising. The NovaSeq is old, so it’s time for a replacement. And of course it has Chemistry X. The $2/Gb is pretty much where I expected them to land. A pretty hefty price reduction - thanks, competition! But they didn’t feel the need to drop all the way down to Ultima “We’re not really on the market yet and our reads aren’t THAT crappy” Genomics territory of $1/Gb.


NextSeq: Do you want the good news or the bad news?

The good new is… you get Chemistry X (XLEAP-SBS) without buying a new instrument or even upgrading! Yay! It’s all good news! Psych - you have to wait until 2024 to get it. That’s when they’ll have a new P4 chip plus the new chemistry yielding 500Gb outputs. That give Element a whole year of selling NextSeq-like boxes with NovaSeq-like (but not NovaSeq X-like)  sample costs. What do you think? Will they be able to exploit that gap?

Other Stuff

Infinity has been renamed “Complete Long-Reads” and will launch in 2023 (early, late? Not sure). There will be a whole genome product and a “just the hard parts” product. Oh, and the NovaSeq 6000 Dx is launching. That’s probably very exciting for the people who need one. It’s just not very exciting to me since they’ve been talking about it for a while. I’m just here for the surprises. There was also something about DRAGEN. I’m boycotting DRAGEN until someone gives me some super cool DRAGEN swag. Then I’ll be all about the DRAGEN.

So, what are your thoughts? Happy? Sad? Did Illumina convince you to stay the course or are you more determined than ever to switch platforms? Let me know on Twitter.

(Photo by Kid Circus on Unsplash)

Shawn Baker

View posts by Shawn Baker
Founder and principal consultant at SanDiegOmics
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