Quantum-Si, a Connecticut-based start-up, introduced the world’s first next-generation protein sequencing platform at Cowen Healthcare 2020. The Quantum-Si ecosystem encompasses everything required to decode the molecules of life, including sample preparation, sequencing, and data analysis. The transition from analog to digital proteomics enables a new generation of more sensitive and accurate research tools and diagnostics.
Over the past fifteen years, next-generation DNA sequencing has transformed every aspect of the life sciences. However, genetics is only one component of human disease. New tools are required to understand how genes interact with the environment to improve how we develop drugs, diagnose patients, and combat outbreaks. Protein-based approaches have always held tremendous promise, but despite massive improvements in DNA sequencing technology, proteomics (the study of proteins on a large scale) has not advanced as rapidly.
“Prior to our team commercializing the first next-generation DNA sequencing system, scientists relied on noisy analog data generated by DNA-hybridization,” said Jonathan M. Rothberg, Ph.D., Founder and Chairman of Quantum-Si. “By advancing to a digital readout in the actual sequencing of DNA in a genome, we unlocked new areas of biology and created what researchers and doctors identified as the greatest advance in healthcare in the last 40 years. Next-generation protein sequencing will be as important and will have an even greater economic impact.”
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Sample to Answer Solutions
To maximize the impact on global health, the world needs true end-to-end solutions that are convenient, fast, and affordable. Quantum-Si introduced a complete solution spanning sample preparation, protein sequencing, and data analysis.
Platinum is the first of Quantum-Si’s devices to utilize Time Domain Sequencing powered by the world’s first massively parallel single-photon counting semiconductor chip. “Our chip is universal and can be applied to research complex disease, as well as the most exquisite early detection of pathogens, as with the Coronavirus pandemic,” said Dr. Rothberg. With this $100 million dollar development, Quantum-Si is able to drastically reduce the cost and size of sequencing platforms and create next-generation protein sequencing. Quantum-Si’s chip allows a user to read the amino acid sequence (the building blocks of proteins) and post-translational modifications. For the very first time, Platinum allows any lab or clinic to sequence proteins in an affordable, easy-to-use, and massively parallel fashion.
Carbon is designed as a universal sample preparation platform to automate the upfront work needed for sequencing. In addition to automating protein preparation for Platinum, Carbon also automates sample preparation from whole-blood and cell cultures for existing third-party DNA sequencing technologies.
The Quantum-Si Cloud provides a secure platform for users to manage samples, libraries, runs, and analyses. The Cloud also enables developers to test and run custom workflows, then share the workflows with the broader community if desired.
Quantum-Si’s end-to-end solution is designed to create a new proteomics market and usher in the age of protein sequencing, but the company has a larger vision. “The ability to detect light is central to modern diagnostics. There are additional markets and applications where our single-molecule sensor and ecosystem of products can be applied, “said Dr. Rothberg. “We are just getting started.”
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