Illumina’s Innovation Roadmapjust finished and the team presented a whole lot of excitement with the new instruments: NovaSeq XPlus (available Q1 2023) and NovaSeq X (later) running XPLEAP-SBS (coming in early 2024 to NextSeq 1000 & 2000 on a new, higher output P4 flow cell) to deliver up to 8Tb per 25B read flow cell!

Check out this YouTube video for a deeper dive: Introducing the NovaSeq™ X Series. Redefine the limits of high-throughput sequencing. And read Illumina’s press releases (here & here)

XPLEAP-SBS is the key to Illumina’s updates today. A novel polymerase and new X-block, X-linker and X-dyes; increased thermal stability enables higher laser power leading to improved quality (both phasing and prephasing) and could lead to boosts in read length, particularly if this chemistry comes to other platforms e.g. MiSeq X? All of this is combined with novel flowcells with closer pitch to cram even more clusters onboard. And the chemistry is faster.

More reads, higher quality, faster, cheaper: what more could you want?

James Hadfield

The new instrument: The 8 lane flowcell is back on the NovaSeqX with individually addressable lanes each containing a pool or super-pool of NGS libraries. This is not not quite the same as Singular’s indivudally addressable flowcell lanes but will bring back some flexibility that HiSeq users missed when moving to NovaSeq. Onboard clustering is also very similar to the XP workflows so uses 4x less library and everything is automated on the instrument; no ExAmp manifolds, load libraries across strip tube and press go. Time will tell if users can go crazy on numbers of samples e.g. RNA-Seq and WES!

The User Experience team has tried to eliminate failure and pain points where possible but Illumina did not go full Augmented Reality and include an Oculus – imagine a Supernova-Seq from ILMN/Meta?

Multiple flow cells will be available with the flagship being an 8Tb, 25B read version; with 0.5Tb/1.5B and 3Tb/10b options. The 3Tb/10B flow cell comes first in Q1 2023 but you’ll have to wait until H2 2023 for the 1.5B and 25B versions. NovaSeq X Plus system will be launched in Q1 2023. NovaSeq X system available later in 2023.

No upgrade path – this is a new box and it is significantly bigger in outputs but it’s the same size and weight, same HVAC and electrical requirements, no need to reinforce floors (😉 or add plumbing. You can put this into any lab…if you can justify the capital costs.

  • No reported increase in increased index-hopping or fragment jumping across well-to-well.
  • No announcements on library prep. Ut obvious opportunities for lyophilisation of Illumina kits here too. 

The NovaSeq X Plus (2 flowcells) will begin shipping in Q1 Feb with the 10B flowcell and costing $1.25M; NovaSeq X (single flowcell) at $985k; the 1.5B and 25B read flowcells will follow in H2 . Talk to your Illumina rep if you want a trade in.

NGS costs: Overall costs are down to $2/Gb or $200gb/genome including analysis if using onboard DRAGEN (I’m assuming this is for the topend and we’ll earn more about small flowcell or NextSeq costs in the next few days). This brings us much closer to $100 that Illumina have been talking about for a decade. But not as close as Ultima launched at AGBT so the battle is still on.

I think DRAGEN, this is big news for people who’ve held off investing here – you are going to save so much time!

Reduced environmental footprint: Sustainability was something I don’t expect many people thought would be high on the agenda. Illumina have really outdone themselves here with massive 90% reductions in packaging weight and waste. 500 tons of CO2 will now no longer be flown around the globe because of lyophilised reagents being shipped at room-temperature. The impact of this will be felt by everyone; Francis focused on saving time unboxing or the impact on places with poor cold-chain storage…but I’m also thinking about the massive -20C freezer space allocation that could be fred up in my old lab (and yours).

Other news: Apparently complete long-reads are not linked reads – I’ll leave others to argue how Ilumina’s Infiinity stacks up against other options including PACB and ONT.

Check out @julemieux1 coverage at GEN: Illumina Reveals New High-Throughput Instrument, NovaSeq X

@SanDiegOmics coverage on Shawn’s blog: Illumina’s 2022 Product Roadmap and @Varro_Analytics roundup of coverage from Stifel, Credit Suisse, Cowen & Canaccord.