STAT+: Element Biosciences, an Illumina rival, on its genomics ambitions — and why it hasn’t gone public

SAN DIEGO — Companies racing to read the genome accurately, quickly, and affordably have hit a snag recently, with several firms reporting that their growth has slowed, stalled, or reversed. Upstart Element Biosciences is hoping it can succeed despite the challenging market conditions.

The San Diego firm launched a $290,000 sequencer, dubbed Aviti, in March 2022 and now has 150 instruments installed in more than 25 countries, according to a sales update Element shared with STAT. The modest growth comes at a time when some other players are struggling. Singular Genomics announced layoffs of 20% of its workforce earlier this year after the lackluster launch of its own sequencer. And Pacific Biosciences recently laid off nearly 200 employees after reporting disappointing first-quarter sales.

Element still has a long way to go in its bid to rival Illumina, a genomics giant that dominates 80% of the sequencing market and…
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