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Collaboration and Impact

 

Professors David Klenerman and Shankar Balasubramanian

Solexa Sequencing

A series of creative discussions in the lab and a meeting at a local pub during the summer of 1997 led to the development of a new DNA sequencing approach now used throughout the world. The story of how this new DNA sequencing approach was developed by [now] Professor Sir Shankar Balasubramanian and Professor Sir David Klenerman after a discussion at the Panton Arms has become legendary.

To develop their technology further, Balasubramanian and Klenerman obtained seed funding from venture capital firm Abingworth Management to found Solexa in 1998.  Solexa continued to grow, and was eventually acquired by Illumina in 2007 for £600M.  Today Solexa next generation sequencing technology is at the heart of all of Illumina’s sequencing products.

Solexa sequencing has made very large-scale projects possible, and Solexa-Illumina sequencers are the technology that underpins major projects such as The 100,000 Genomes Project, the International Cancer Genome Project, and GenomeAsia 100K.

It is estimated that the Solexa sequencing first dreamed of by Klenerman and Balasubramanian in the Panton Arms is currently used to sequence one million genomes per year.

Shankar Balasubramanian and David Klenerman at the Panton Arms in the late 1990s.