UTS research behind new disruptive DNA sequencing technology
- The commercialisation of research undertaken at the UTS ithree institute will deliver more accessible DNA analysis, at a lower cost, for research and genomics fields
- Longas Technologies has developed a disruptive technology designed to significantly improve current industry standard DNA sequencing platforms
The release of a new disruptive DNA sequencing technology has the potential to transform the research, epidemiology and clinical genomics fields, the founders of publicly launched Longas Technologies say.
Founded in 2015 Longas is a spin out from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) ithree institute, funded by Australia’s Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF) and initially based on research led by UTS Professor Aaron Darling, a world-leading computational biologist. In addition to Professor Darling, co-founders from UTS include Dr Catherine Burke and Professor Ian Charles, previously Director of the ithree institute and now Director of the Quadram Institute, UK.
Longas has developed Morphoseq™, a disruptive technology designed to dramatically improve the performance of industry-standard Next Generation Sequencing (NSG) platforms.
Although rapid low cost NGS platforms have revolutionised genomic analysis Longas™ Chairman, Dr Stephen Thompson said that Morphoseq™ "solves a key problem and promises to have an important impact within the NGS market, a market that is expected to grow from US$5.7 billion last year to US$20 billion by 2025."
Longas co-founder and CSO Professor Aaron Darling said that although the rise of high-throughput, low cost DNA sequencing has made genome sequencing routine and affordable "it comes at the cost of read length."
"It is very difficult for assembly methods to resolve genomic repeats that are longer than the read length. But long repeats are present at many of the most clinically informative parts of genomes, such as drug resistance genes in bacteria and the MHC [set of genes that code for immune response, important in organ transplant matching] locus in humans.
"The ability to accurately assemble and phase these into individual chromosomes for humans and microorganisms has important clinical and epidemiological applications," he said.
… we have developed a way to make high quality long read DNA sequencing accessible and cost-effective
The founders of Longas had been exploring new ways to create long sequence reads for microbial community profiling. The team recognised the much broader applicability of their invention to increasing the effective read length from established NGS platforms.
"Through a combination of proprietary chemistry and algorithms we have developed a way to make high quality long read DNA sequencing accessible and cost-effective. It delivers highly accurate long DNA sequences at a fraction of the cost of existing long read platforms," Professor Darling said.
Further studies have demonstrated the ability to accurately assemble and phase these DNA reads into individual chromosomes for humans as well as microorganisms, with important scientific, clinical and public health applications.
Professor Darling provided an overview of the technology and its development at the annual Sequencing, Finishing and Analysis in the Future meeting that brings together experts in the genomics field.
Mr Nick McCooke, a highly experienced NGS leader, has been appointed as CEO of the Sydney-based company.
Having recently launched, after developing the technology in stealth mode, Longas is seeking partners and collaborators to support commercialisation.