How Many More Next Generation Sequencer Are Needed?
Recently Investment Bank William Blair lowered top-line and bottom-line estimates for Illumina and Pacific Biosciences, citing government funding worries that could impact sales of both firms’ instruments <genomeweb>.
They lowered the forecast for shipping of 260 Illumina instruments in 2012 and 248 instruments in 2013. They also report a recent decrease of HiSeq consumables and lowered the forecast for consumable sales in 2012 by 3%. They predict also only a slight increase of 5% for consumable sales in 2013 over 2012.
If the shipping of 248 instruments increases the consumable sales only by 5%, than I have to wonder, how many of these instruments are really in use. If 248 instruments in average need 5% of the consumables this would mean, that at that time 4960 instruments are placed, which is far away from reality. The conclusion can only be that in average the instruments are used at less than 20% capacity.
A huge amount of research money is used for buying instruments, instead of sourcing the service. As a consequence it takes long to fill a flow cell and the operators often have limited experience with sample preparation, data handling and analysis. This produces often pure data quality and is not helpful for high end research.
I am very curious about your opinion.