Updated on 7 April 2014
Q: What are services or products offered by the company in India?
Illumina offers a full range of products - from microarrays to sequencing systems. Illumina's BeadArray microarray technology represents a fundamentally different approach to high-density arrays. Our array-based solutions provide ideal tools to perform genome-wide association studies (GWAS) involving single-nucleotide polymorphism, genotyping and copy number variation analyses, as well as gene expression profiling, and other DNA and RNA studies.
On sequencing part, the portfolio includes the MiSeq System which combines speed, high-quality data, and the longest read lengths of any desktop system. It is ideal for sequencing targeted panels, amplicons, and small genomes. It is a cost-effective alternative to capillary electrophoresis applications and can perform rapid sequencing and variant detection for time-critical studies. MiSeq has an output of 0.3 - 15 gigabases (Gb) and a maximum read length of 2 x 300 bp. For production-scale genome, exome, transcriptome sequencing, there is the HiSeq 2500. It has two modes - rapid run and high-output. Its output range is 10-1,000 Gb and it is capable of sequencing a whole human genome is around 24 hours.
In January we launched two new products.
The HiSeq X Ten is the world's first platform to deliver full coverage human genomes for less than $1,000, inclusive of typical instrument depreciation, DNA extraction, library preparation, and estimated labor. Built for population-scale human whole genome sequencing, the HiSeq X Ten is an ideal platform for scientists and institutions focused on the discovery of genotypic variation to enable a deeper understanding of human biology and genetic disease. It can sequence tens of thousands of samples annually with high-quality and high-coverage. The HiSeq X Ten System is sold as a set of 10 or more HiSeq X sequencers, each generating up to 1.8 terabases (Tb) of sequencing data in less than three days or up to 600 Gb per day, per system, providing the throughput to sequence tens of thousands of high-quality, high-coverage genomes per year. So it is a revolutionary product. We already had three clients from Asia Pacific, one from Korea and one from Australia. It costs $10 million, but we achieved a technology that can do wonders.
Q: What is the kind of competition you have globally and in Asia Pacific?
There are many competitors such as Life Technologies which is a part of Thermo Fisher now. Pacific Bioscience is another. It has interesting technology, but it is not competitive due to price. The reality is that Illumina has made more advances in sequencings than any other company in recent times. What I love about Illumina is that we have great talent. We have strong optical engineers, bioinformaticians, molecular biologists and engineers. It is a very diverse world class skill set that is required to create such technologies. We have developed core competencies in the nano-fabrication and manufacturing of flow cells. We have been fortunate to master the talent and stay ahead of the competition, but at the same time we respect our competitors.
Q: Are you considering venturing directly for marketing in India or through distributors?
It is all through distributors at the moment and we are pleased with them. We always try to put more resources and support for them. We educate and train their workforce and in fact, many of them get the training at our Singapore office. Our technical support system helps educate clients there to know more about the utility of genomics. PREMAS Biotech is our distributor in India for few years now and it has been doing a tremendous job. They have performed their task to our expectations. In the coming years, we hope to have our own office in India.
Q: What is the revenue of the company globally and from Indian market in the last fiscal and how are you expected to do this financial year?
Globally, we have recorded $1.4 billion in revenue with an annual growth of 24 percent. We don't reveal specific growth matrix for each country, but in the case of India, I can say that it has matched our performance globally and over the period of 3 years, it has maintained 25 percent growth rate. Looking at 2014, we expect to grow between 16 to 20 percent.
Q: What do you consider as your major challenges and what is the outlook for the future?
We are constantly growing so we are continuously scaling-up our infrastructure to manage our expansion and to serve our customers to the highest level of satisfaction. This can be challenging, as it is for any company that is the leader in its respective industry. We have to ensure that we always have enough resources and a solid infrastructure. The main challenge is that we keep innovating at a fast pace and therefore need to keep our customers updated. Overall, we have to ensure that we remain focused. We want to be part of communities to change the world for better, or as we say at Illumina, "we want to advance human health by unlocking the power of the genome."