Detection and Diagnostics, Meeting Summaries, Technology and Market

Portable Sequencing for Infectious Disease Detection, Diagnosis, Discrimination, & Discovery

In-Q-Tel, Inc.

Background – This paper reports on a February 28, 2017 Roundtable Discussion convened by B.Next, an IQT Lab.

Several companies are developing DNA sequencing devices that can enable users to sequence DNA outside the traditional laboratory setting.  Among them, Oxford Nanopore is perhaps the most well-known.  The advent of portable sequencing devices opens up a wide variety of potential use cases that range from point-of-care medical diagnostics to on-site agricultural pest analysis.  It will soon be common for scientists to study animal and plant genetics and the structure of microbial communities close to where these species are found in nature.  In the realm of managing epidemics, the current state of portable sequencing technology presents potential opportunities to accelerate the collection of pathogen genomic sequence data during an outbreak.  Distributed sufficiently broadly, portable sequencers could function as “sensors” that help detect the spread and evolution of a pathogen.

The Roundtable included experts from industry, academia, finance and several USG agencies who manufacture, consume, invest in, or develop use cases for sequencing applications as they relate to disease outbreaks.  The discussion took place over a single day, included invited presentations from four participants plus prepared remarks from three others (see below), and was held on a not-for-attribution basis. (The participants agreed to allow IQT to publish a summary of key insights from the meeting.  In addition, participants named below consented to allow us to use their names in this report.)

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