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A French start-up harnesses the power of the latest generation genomic sequencers to dramatically increase COVID 19 testing capacity

SeqOne Genomics, a start-up specialized in genomic analysis software, is partnering with leading medical testing labs to develop an approach that delivers up to 100 times more COVID 19 tests per machine thanks to NGS sequencers.

Montpellier: May 1st, 2020: Epidemiological experts agree that the key to successfully managing the COVID 19 pandemic is a robust national testing capability that can dispense hundreds of thousands of tests per day.  Yet governments have struggled to ramp their testing capabilities to meet this vital objective. The cause of the testing shortfall is that the most reliable tests involve identifying the genetic signature of the virus using a mature qPCR technology that can only process a small number of tests per machine.  Clearly, satisfying the need for high volume national COVID-19 testing will require innovative new approaches that can scale to deliver substantially more tests than existing qPCR technology.  

SeqOne Genomics, a French start-up specialized in genomic analysis software, is developing a new approach to testing that could achieve this objective.  The approach takes advantage of the power of the latest generation of high throughput NGS sequencers to deliver tens of thousands of tests at a time.  To harness the power of these new machines, the company has developed software that incorporates concepts seen in academic publications in areas including multiplexing and extraction-free sequencing to allow large numbers of patient samples to be pooled together for analysis while keeping track of each individual’s results.  “Using NGS sequencers made sense both because of their power and availability,” said Nicolas Philippe, CEO of SeqOne Genomics. “We focused on developing a software solution that made it possible to use them to deliver high volumes of tests in a clinical environment” 

The concept has been successfully tested in the lab showing accuracy comparable to qPCR tests.  The approach offers the added benefit of providing information on an infected person’s viral load which can help optimize treatment strategies and better understand the disease from an epidemiological perspective.  Supported by the French government, SeqOne is now working with some of France’s largest medical testing labs and computing infrastructure providers to implement the concept nationwide.   

With implementation in France underway, SeqOne is now turning its sights on other countries and markets that might benefit from a cost-effective way to increase their testing capabilities.

About SeqOne: SeqOne develops state-of-the-art genomics analysis tools for clinical applications in the fields of cancer and rare disease. Its flagship product, SeqOne | Platform is a cloud-based end-to-end solution that dramatically reduces the turnaround time and cost required to deliver accurate genetic analyses for use in mainstream medicine.  In the short time since it has launched its platform secured a wide user base in a diver range of healthcare establishments including hospitals and private sector testing labs. It has won numerous awards including the prestigious iLab award and the ARC cancer foundation’s Hélène Stark prize. SeqOne is supported by the SATT AxLR and the Montpellier BIC incubator. 

Published on 1 May 2020


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