Acquisition of world-leading genomics system to radically improve cancer research and treatment

The University of Melbourne and the Australian Genome Research Facility (AGRF) announced today that they have jointly acquired the Chromium™ System from US company10x Genomics®, providing Australia with one of the first opportunities outside the United States to utilise this powerful new genomic technology towards research that can significantly improve patient outcomes.

10x Genomics has changed the definition of genetic sequencing by providing an innovative genomics platform that dramatically improves the capabilities of existing sequencing technologies.

Using a microfluidics-based molecular barcoding solution, Chromium allows researchers to sequence DNA at much higher resolution from clinical samples and probe the activity of individual cancer cells. Professor Sean Grimmond, Bertalli Chair in Cancer Medicine at the University of Melbourne, has been instrumental in the acquisition of this platform, spearheading efforts to ensure that the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) is able to access world-leading technology for the purposes of cancer discovery and developing genomic pathology.

“This technology marks a key step towards improving treatment selection for cancer patients using genome analysis in the VCCC and Victoria. It also provides unprecedented opportunities for innovation in cancer research” said Professor Grimmond. There is currently a roadblock in advancing trials of genome-directed therapies and personalised medicine due to the inability to perform accurate, deep whole-genome analysis on small amounts of biopsy material.

The Chromium system supports continued innovation in whole genome and large-scale sequencing technology that is crucial to improvements in understanding the root-causes and the potential therapeutic avenues arising in complex, rare and recalcitrant tumors.

Dr. Kirby Siemering, Director of Genomics Innovation at AGRF, confirmed that “this system delivers on the mission of AGRF to support Australian researchers and enable world class genomic science. Importantly this acquisition marks the beginning of an expanded collaborative relationship with researchers to acquire, test and develop new and disruptive technologies that are crucial to maintaining Australia’s place at the forefront of medical research and patient care”.

“The acquisition of our Chromium System by The University of Melbourne and the AGRF marks the beginning of a significant and exciting research partnership,” said Serge Saxonov, president and chief executive officer of 10x Genomics.

“Enabling researchers to make significant advances with their work and to positively impact patient outcomes is why we started 10x Genomics. We are thrilled to provide our technology and products to help further innovation and discovery by these preeminent institutions.” This collaborative approach is further strengthened through the support of Bioplatforms Australia (BPA). Andrew Gilbert, General Manager of BPA commented, "We are delighted to support Professor Grimmond and AGRF, fusing world leading 10x Genomics capability, expertise and access for the Australian research community".

About AGRF AGRF is a not-for-profit organisation enabling Australian genomics through a national network of genomic services and expertise. As Australia’s largest full service genomics capability, AGRF is a key contributor to genomic innovation and development, providing expertise, technology accessibility and comprehensive support to academic and industry sectors.

This article first in The Melbourne Newsroom on 14 June 2016. Click here to view the original.