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Something to roar about

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It has been two-years since Illumina acquired Edico Genome and its DRAGEN technology. It’s so exciting to see that our vision of reducing sequencing data acquisition and analysis to a push-button, streamlined process is here and happening, thanks to DRAGEN. This past Friday we celebrated our second Edico-versary, and I want to reflect on our growth and share how we’re enabling researchers to ask new questions and glean more valuable data with an expanded portfolio.

At this time, DRAGEN is fully integrated with Illumina’s sequencers, library prep kits and its comprehensive software suite, making it easier for researchers to implement and scale workflows. We are proud of our collaboration with the Broad to develop a unified DRAGEN-GATK pipeline for short-read variant calling and make this accessible to the community. We have also enabled DRAGEN to meet population scale demands, releasing our ultrafast Population Scale Cohort Analysis with up to 50X speed improvements. Importantly, DRAGEN has become a core component of Illumina’s product development, translating to new features and pipelines that are optimized to be paired with Illumina’s upstream software and library preparation kits. We’ve also integrated the full suite of DRAGEN Pipelines on BaseSpace Sequence Hub, enabling researchers to seamlessly stream data to the cloud for push-button analysis via DRAGEN at a low cost-per-sample. By making DRAGEN accessible, we’re seeing rapid adoption of this platform, with over 100,000 whole genome equivalents processed so far this year.

Perhaps one of most exciting advancements over the past two years has been the integration of DRAGEN on the new NextSeq 2000 systems, allowing for efficient, accurate analysis, now all-in with sequencing. But this doesn’t mean we’re stopping or even slowing down. As innovators, our work continues. Our development team is continuing to work around the clock (and primarily from home these days) to deliver an even more streamlined and integrated sample-to-answer experience for our customers.

Finally, When the coronavirus pandemic swept the globe, we took a hard and fast look at how we could bring our best to the frontlines to fight the virus. In short order, we were able to develop and release the Illumina SARS-CoV-2 Data Toolkit, a new suite of data analysis tools and workflow functionality for those working with the virus using next-generation sequencing (NGS), made available at no cost to the global research community. Importantly, this toolkit leverages the speed and accuracy of DRAGEN to accelerate infectious disease surveillance and outbreak response, including a new DRAGEN RNA Pathogen Detection Pipeline, as well as a DRAGEN Metagenomics Pipeline for outbreak surveillance.

I’d like to thank my entire team, our customers, partners and collaborators that have contributed to the growth and progression of DRAGEN. It has been a great first two years for DRAGEN on board at Illumina. But as much as I like looking back on all we’ve accomplished; I like the looks of our future even more. For additional information about our DRAGEN progress and pipeline, visit our News Center.