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Cost per Gigabase
A few months ago Ultima Genomics promised the world DNA sequencing at $1/Gigabase. My first reaction was: doesn’t it already cost about that?
Illumina have huge margins. Sure as a user I might have to pay the hugely inflated price of $4 per gigabase. But surely the COGS is far less. Recently someone asked me about this again and I decided to see if I could guesstimate the $/Gb for various sequencing platforms. You can find the source spreadsheets and my notes over on the blog. I’m sure it’s possible to make a better guesstimate than I have and I’d welcome suggestions and corrections here or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
To summarize, my guess is that the Illumina COGS is around $0.80/Gb, a reasonable upper bound would be about $1.5/Gb… for the PromethION it seems to be more in the range of $3.60, PacBio $15 and Ion Torrent $22.
Vendor reported and user reported throughput vary significantly. I’ve used user reported values in the COGS calculation. This is most significant in the case of the PromethION, going with the vendor reported 10Tb throughput would put COGS $/Gb somewhere around $1.15, which would be nearer to the NovaSeq COGS.
But overall, I suspect we’re already at the point where a $100 (30x) Human Genome is possible, and as IP continues to expire, it seems likely that we’ll consumer pricing in this range in the next few years.