The company's business model is based around a novel technology for rapidly generating DNA sequence data; but rather than make its money by selling its platform to genomics facilities and biotech companies (as do its competitors, such as Illumina and ABI), Complete will be offering its technology only through its own purpose-built service facilities.
The buzz has focused on whether Complete's technology will be accurate and powerful enough to meet the company's stated goal of offering a $5,000 whole human genome sequence by mid-2009, let alone its far more ambitious long-term goals:
[Complete Genomics] is now building the world's largest commercial
human-genome-sequencing center. It expects to sequence 200 genomes per
day by the end of 2010, he says. Over the next five years, the company
plans to build 10 more centers with a goal of sequencing 1 million
complete human genomes.
It's been hard to judge how close the company is to making these lofty dreams a reality, because it has kept any data about the performance of its platform a secret.
That will change on Thursday: the company has announced that it will be releasing its sequencing data publicly for the first time at the AGBT meeting this week. I'll be attending, so I'm looking forward to seeing whether the data meet with the high expectations that Complete Genomics has been generating.
How times change - when we sequenced the Drosophila melanogaster genome, we were still at the 1$ = 1 base finished sequence (just at the start of the Celera scheme).
Like a lot of people (I bet), I'll be on the edge of my seat, waiting to hear what you and others think of Complete's sequence quality -- and their promise of delivery in quantity.
From an outsider's point of view, the results in the proof-of-principal paper in the 2 January 2009 Science (Link) was a tour de force with respect to getting single-molecule sequencing to work... but underwhelming in terms of visualizing a gigabases-per-day scheme implemented within a few months.