Molly He, CEO and Co-founder of Element Biosciences
0:00 Where did Element come from?
9:22 Beyond the $200 genome
14:02 Avidity - platform based on new chemistry that could power other omics
20:42 Who is buying Avidity?
24:35 What do you mean by democratizing genomics?
"We’re not a sequencing company," says Molly He, CEO and co-founder of Element Biosciences in our first interview with the leader of the hot new sequencing company which seemed to come out of nowhere this past year. “We’re a biology company.”
Not a sequencing company? Element has just taken the lead in the race toward cheap clinical genomes, and their CEO is putting that news aside in today’s interview. Instead, she’s much more interested in touting the company’s core technology “avidity.” The term comes from a core reagent the company has labeled an “avidite.”
“I don’t think everyone understands the importance of avidity sequencing. We have a proprietary reagent called an avidite which has a multivalent binding event to the polymerase and to the DNA strand. The multivalency creates a much stronger binding through avidity, so we can have much lower reagent consumption than any other system. SBS or SBV sequencing requires micromolar amounts of reagents, but because our binding affinity is orders or magnitudes higher, we only require nanomolar amounts of reagents. Additionally, our multivalent bonding has multiple chances to make a right call whereas the other systems only have a single chance.”
Molly says this core chemistry provides a powerful platform not only for sequencing but for other omics as well. Who is buying the company's new sequencers now, and how does Molly see this year playing out?