Malaysians now have access to the most sophisticated NGS (Next Generation Sequencing) platform which could revolutionise the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases through rapid and efficient genome analysis.
The world’s fastest production scale sequencer- the Illumina NovaSeq 6000 – was recently unveiled at The Advanced Genomics Technology Center at AGTC Genomics, Bukit Jalil. As the leading provider of genomics services and solutions, AGTC Genomics Sdn. Bhd. is the first in Malaysia to have access to this cutting-edge technology along with DRAGEN Bio-IT, Illumina’s highly accurate and ultra-rapid secondary analysis software to process the large amount of unprocessed sequenced data produced by the NovaSeq.
“It took 13 years and USD3 billion to sequence the first human genome back in 2003. But with this new technology at AGTC Genomics, we could sequence 50 human genomes in less than two days. By capturing a vast amount of genetic information about any disease in such a short space of time, we expect this technology to supercharge our detection, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, and drive discoveries at an even faster rate. This has the potential to save the lives of millions of Malaysians and we are proud to be the first to bring in this technology,” said Dr Chee-Onn Leong, CEO of AGTC Genomics.
The NovaSeq6000 is expected to increase the number of samples sequenced drastically and reduce the cost of precision medicine significantly, enabling researchers and clinicians to read and decipher genetic information more quickly. This information can then be used in the diagnosis of diseases or to help find the best treatment to target cancer cells in patients. The same technology can also be used to fight infectious diseases; most notably, COVID-19 genome sequencing and surveillance.
“There is a vital need to make genomic technology and precision medicine available to all. We are inspired by AGTC Genomics and their dedication to increase sequencing capability, and transform healthcare in Malaysia,” said Gretchen Weightman, Head of Global Commercial Strategy and General Manager of Asia Pacific and Japan at Illumina.
By enabling the performance of genome sequencing in Malaysia on a national scale, Malaysians will be able to receive more individually tailored therapies which will improve overall patient care.
“One key area we are keen to use the NovaSeq6000 sequencer for is to discover new ways to offer the best available treatment for each individual cancer patient’s disease. If we can do this, we should be able to revolutionise how cancer patients are being treated. With the NovaSeq6000 system, this kind of work is now feasible”, added Dr Leong.
Beyond biomedicine, the new facility (AGTC Genomics Sdn. Bhd) also has exciting applications in the agricultural and environmental industries.