A company looking to bring genetic medicine to smartphone users


A company called Illumina is working on a chip that could be plugged into a smartphone to bring genetic medicine to consumers, EETimes is reporting. The San Diego, California-based firm has previously managed to drive down the cost of sequencing a human genome to $1,000, and now it’s setting sight on a consumer product.

Illumina is working on a device that could turn smartphones into molecular stethoscopes, bringing genetic medicine to consumers.The idea, according to Illumina’s CEO Mostafa Ronaghi, is to turn smartphones into molecular stethoscopes. “We will not need a primary doctor in the future, you will get tested [at home or in a clinic] and go directly to a specialist — I believe it will happen in five to seven years,” he said.

Researchers at Illumina are already working on pieces of the solution, trying to find biocompatible interfaces between “wet and dry science.” Moreover, the team is also evaluating electrical, optical, and other means for on-chip genomic detection.

So far, Illumina has demonstrated digital microfluidics on silicon with the help of researchers from the CEA-Leti. The first devices that can assay as many as 16 samples in silicon could be out as early as July.

Illumina is one of the leaders in genomics, with $421 million in revenues and $60 million in profits genereted in its last financial quarter.