Hot on the heels of my blog entry on Tuesday about Stanford's new Center for Genome and Personalized Medicine comes startling news about the price tag for sequencing whole genomes. According to Forbes.com:
Illumina, the maker of DNA decoders, today lowered the cost of its consumer gene-sequencing product from $48,000 to $19,500, with a cost of $14,500 for people in groups of five or more that use the same physician. It also introduced a new category of customer: for patients who might get actionable medical information, such as cancer patients who could use genomic information to pick medicines, the service will be available for $9,500. The announcement was made at the Consumer Genetics Conference in Boston.
In fact, one conference attendee presented information indicating that price drops in whole genome sequencing are occurring at a rate that surpasses Moore's law, says Forbes senior editor Matthew Herper:
Cancer patients are likely to be among the first to benefit from these dropping prices. The idea is that knowing the gene sequences of a patient will help patients pick targeted cancer drugs. At $9,500, the sequencing already costs less than a course of treatment with newer cancer medicines sold by Novartis and Eli Lilly.
Stanford geneticist (and director of our new center), Michael Snyder, PhD, is at the conference now. It will be interesting to hear his take on this and other news when he returns.