Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) has revolutionized the way of medical diagnostics are performed today. Targeted sequencing of DNA or RNA has many current applications in research and diagnosis. Targeted DNA sequencing is becoming a mainstream cancer diagnostics method due to sensitivity and specificity. Targeted DNA sequencing for companion diagnostics pairs a specific drug with gene-mutation type in a cancer to determine treatment effectiveness. However, reagent costs prohibit widespread adoption of this approach. Target enrichment consumables are the largest contributors (about 30-40%) to the total cost of targeted sequencing. Few biotech companies offer cancer target enrichment reagents that target a few hundred genes either specific to an individual or common in all cancer types. These reagents are expensive. Current cancer gene panel reagents are price at ~$110-320 which limits their availability for a wide range of patients.

Founders of GenZ Diagnostics developed a technology ...
Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) has revolutionized the way of medical diagnostics are performed today. Targeted sequencing of DNA or RNA has many current applications in research and diagnosis. Targeted DNA sequencing is becoming a mainstream cancer diagnostics method due to sensitivity and specificity. Targeted DNA sequencing for companion diagnostics pairs a specific drug with gene-mutation type in a cancer to determine treatment effectiveness. However, reagent costs prohibit widespread adoption of this approach. Target enrichment consumables are the largest contributors (about 30-40%) to the total cost of targeted sequencing. Few biotech companies offer cancer target enrichment reagents that target a few hundred genes either specific to an individual or common in all cancer types. These reagents are expensive. Current cancer gene panel reagents are price at ~$110-320 which limits their availability for a wide range of patients.

Founders of GenZ Diagnostics developed a technology to synthesize target DNA enrichment reagents, at large scale using enzymatic amplification of template molecules. The technology was filed into a preliminary patent application by the University of California. GenZ Diagnostics is planning to license technology from the University. The technology will enable production of inexpensive cancer gene enrichment reagents at scale with quick turn-around-time. GenZ Diagnostics expects to price the cancer panel at $25 per reaction, due to low production cost enabled by technology. This projected price is a fourth of current cheapest available solution. Hence, the cost reduction would be the major advantage for diagnostic and research laboratories to switch to use GenZ Diagnostics’ consumable. Further, GenZ’s reagents also expected to reduce the diagnostic time and hence result in faster TAT of results required to reach clinical decisions. Diagnostics products require FDA or CLIA/CAP approval before use in patient care. GenZ expects extensive time and resources need to be invested for these regulatory approvals. For long term plan, GenZ expects to partner up with clinical laboratories to either co-develop diagnostic products or to build a facility that complies with the regulatory norms. GenZ expects the low-cost DNA sequencing products will reduce the economic burden as well as provide cutting-edge diagnostic tools for economically marginal patients around the globe.
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Balaji Sundararaman
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Balaji Sundararaman I am a PhD Candidate in Biomolecular Engineering program at UCSC. I have more than 7yr of experience in and am expert in NGS technologies.