The announcement of the Helicos genome sequence (which I've already discussed in detail) engendered a huge amount of media interest, sometimes for the wrong reasons.
Having the media attention directed elsewhere in the third-generation sequencing space was clearly an unwelcome experience for Helicos competitors Pacific Biosciences
, who have responded with a press release
announcing the successful raising of $68M to finance further development of their single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing platform.
To be fair, raising that sort of capital in the current economic climate is no mean feat, although this is perhaps as much a tribute to PacBio's PR acumen as to their promising technology and financial potential.
Still, the promise of super-long single-molecule reads from PacBio is enticing, and I look forward to seeing the results that emerge from their platform once it finally reaches the market. The press release suggests that the commercial launch will come in late 2010, so we still have a while to wait.
Meanwhile, on a tangent: I note with interest that one of the investors is the Wellcome Trust
, a major UK-based charitable foundation that has invested heavily in genomic research. I hope the Trust realises that their investment in PacBio could earn them another semi-coherent rant from Applied Biosystems/Life Technologies' Kevin McKernan
unless the Trust swiftly make a precisely equal contribution to Life Technologies. In the interests of fairness and competition, of course.