SOURCE: X PRIZE Foundation

X PRIZE Foundation

July 23, 2012 07:57 ET

Life Technologies to Compete in $10 Million Archon Genomics X PRIZE

Ion Torrent Officially Registers for Global Incentive Competition Designed to Usher in a New Era of Personalized Medicine and Inspire Breakthrough Genome Sequencing Technologies

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - Jul 23, 2012) -   The X PRIZE Foundation today announced that Life Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: LIFE) is the first team to officially register under the new guidelines for the Archon Genomics X PRIZE presented by Express Scripts where teams will compete for up to $10 million by being the first to rapidly and accurately sequence 100 whole human genomes at a cost of $1,000 or less each to a standard never before achieved. The result of this competition will be the world's first clinical standard that will transform genome sequencing into usable medical information to improve patient diagnosis and treatment.

The Ion Torrent X PRIZE team, led by CEO and Founder Dr. Jonathan Rothberg, will use the company's new benchtop Ion Proton™ Sequencer in the competition. Ion Torrent technology is based on a fundamentally new semiconductor device that enables chemical signals to be directly translated into digital information for the first time, much like the CMOS imager in an iPhone that directly translates photons into electrons to take pictures.

"It would have cost $100 million and taken 33 years to meet this challenge when the competition was announced in 2006," said Dr. Rothberg. "The new Ion Proton™ sequencer is designed to sequence a human genome for $1,000 in just a few hours. Semiconductor technology is transforming sequencing just as it has transformed every other industry it's touched by driving research to ultimately improve health."

Team registration ends in May 2013 with the 30-day competition taking place in September 2013. To make the competition scientifically valuable and more meaningful to the general public, every team will be given the DNA of 100 centenarians to sequence. These 100 genomic pioneers, who represent a unique population of individuals whose genetic makeup and personal behaviors have contributed to their longevity, are part of the Express Scripts 100 Over 100. They have donated their genomes to this competition and provided insights about the factors impacting healthy aging in order to further medical science. 

"Through this competition, the X PRIZE Foundation is setting a very high standard for the industry to ensure that whole genome sequencing technologies are reliable, replicable and can produce diagnostic-quality results. It is revolutionary," said Robert K. Weiss, Vice Chairman & President of the X PRIZE Foundation. "We have been unwilling to compromise the criteria set for the Archon Genomics X PRIZE because the required levels of accuracy, speed and cost must be achieved to truly impact the field of genomics. Ion Torrent's registration and intention to compete is a dramatic statement about their commitment to delivering outstanding, groundbreaking technology. They have thrown their hat in a ring that will hopefully soon include other companies vying for the prize and the chance to make history and revolutionize medicine."

Upon completion of the competition, the X PRIZE Foundation will compile a public database of the DNA sequences and cell lines from the Express Scripts 100 Over 100 genomes, giving researchers and scientists from around the world open access to this incredibly rich data. The knowledge gained by compiling and comparing this library will further our understanding of health and longevity. Decoding the secrets to a long and healthy life, including the behavioral choices made along the way, could lead to important learnings that will benefit us all and start a new era of personalized medicine.

About X PRIZE Foundation
Founded in 1995, the X PRIZE Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is the leading organization solving the world's Grand Challenges by creating and managing large-scale, high-profile, incentivized prize competitions that stimulate investment in research and development worth far more than the prize itself. The organization motivates and inspires brilliant innovators from all disciplines to leverage their intellectual and financial capital for the benefit of humanity. The X PRIZE Foundation conducts competitions in five Prize Groups: Education; Exploration; Energy & Environment; Global Development; and Life Sciences. Active prizes include the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE, the $10 million Archon Genomics X PRIZE presented by Express Scripts, the $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder X PRIZE, and the $2.25 million Nokia Sensing X CHALLENGE. For more information, go to

About Life Technologies
Life Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: LIFE) is a global biotechnology company with customers in more than 160 countries using its innovative solutions to solve some of today's most difficult scientific challenges. Quality and innovation are accessible to every lab with its reliable and easy-to-use solutions spanning the biological spectrum with more than 50,000 products for translational research, molecular medicine and diagnostics, stem cell-based therapies, forensics, food safety and animal health. Its systems, reagents and consumables represent some of the most cited brands in scientific research including: Ion Torrent™, Applied Biosystems®, Invitrogen™, GIBCO®, Ambion®, Molecular Probes®, Novex®, and TaqMan®. Life Technologies employs approximately 10,400 people and upholds its ongoing commitment to innovation with more than 4,000 patents and exclusive licenses. LIFE had sales of $3.7 billion in 2011. Visit us at our website:

Life Technologies' Safe Harbor Statement
This press release includes forward-looking statements about Life Technologies' anticipated results that involve risks and uncertainties. Some of the information contained in this press release, including, but not limited to, statements as to industry trends and Life Technologies' plans, objectives, expectations and strategy for its business, contains forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Any statements that are not statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements. When used, the words "believe," "plan," "intend," "anticipate," "target," "estimate," "expect" and the like, and/or future tense or conditional constructions ("will," "may," "could," "should," etc.), or similar expressions, identify certain of these forward-looking statements. Important factors which could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements are detailed in filings made by Life Technologies with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Life Technologies undertakes no obligation to update or revise any such forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.