Press Releases

$1 Million Up for Grabs for Performing DNA and RNA Sequencing of a Single Cancer Cell

Life Technologies' Grand Challenges Contest Aims to Make Cancer Sequencing Routine

MARCO ISLAND, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Life Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: LIFE) today announced that the Life Grand Challenges Contest, initially introduced in December 2010, is expanding to include a fourth challenge. This latest contest challenges scientists to sequence the genome and all RNA content derived from a single cancer cell using the 5500 Series SOLiD™ Sequencers. The challenge builds upon research, which will be presented at the annual 2011 Advances in Genome Biology & Technology (AGBT) Meeting, demonstrating the sequencing of the transcriptome of a single mouse cell on a SOLiD system.

Life Technologies initiated its latest, $1 million Life Grand Challenge to unlock science's ability to understand the cell-to-cell genetic differences within a tumor. Although scientists have successfully sequenced the entire transcriptome of a single murine cell using the SOLiD System, as documented in the May 7, 2010 issue of Cell Stem Cell, they have yet to sequence the entire genome of one cell. Successful achievement of this latest Grand Challenge will, therefore, double what is currently possible by sequencing both the entire genome and all RNA, including mRNA, microRNAs and other types of RNA molecules expressed in a single cancer cell, using the SOLiD System. Results must be validated using alternative techniques, such as capillary electrophoresis sequencing or quantitative PCR.

Cancer accounts for nearly one out of every four deaths in the U.S., as reported by the American Cancer Society. Variation in DNA and RNA sequence between tumor cells can dramatically affect how individual cells respond to therapies. For example, if a given treatment eliminates 90 percent of malignant cells in a tumor, but cannot eliminate the remaining cells due to differences in both the underlying genomes and expressed RNA that mitigate the cells' response to treatment, the cancer will likely recur and possibly metastasize. The ability to precisely analyze cell-to-cell genetic differences will help biomedical researchers understand the development of cancer and may one day enable physicians to better prescribe therapies that eliminate malignant cells entirely.

"Life Technologies is focused on providing a continuous stream of innovative applications to enhance the utility of our technologies," said Mark Stevenson, President and COO of Life Technologies. "With the further improvements made on our 5500 Series SOLiD Sequencers in terms of accuracy, flexibility, speed and throughput, we are confident this platform can be used to interrogate single cancer cells."

The judges for the fourth Grand Challenge include Dr's Tim Hunkapiller, Founder, President and Chief Scientific Officer of Discovery Biosciences Corporation, Kai Lao, Principal Scientist of Molecular Biology for Life Technologies, Joe Beechem, Head of Advanced Research of Single Molecule Sequencing for the Genetic Systems Division at Life Technologies and Mahendra Rao, Vice President of Research and Development in Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine for Life Technologies.

Additional information about the fourth Grand Challenge, including terms and conditions, will be released by the end of the first quarter of 2011.

About the Life Grand Challenges Contest

The Life Grand Challenges Contest is a first-of-its-kind crowd sourcing initiative focused on the life sciences tools and technology industry. The goal of the $7 million competition is to unlock even bigger opportunities the company is witnessing, while accelerating innovation within the life sciences community.

There will be seven individual challenges, each with a $1 million prize. The first three challenges are focused on Ion semiconductor sequencing. The fourth challenge is focused on SOLiD sequencing. The remaining three challenges will be related to Life Technologies products and will be announced later in 2011.

The three Ion challenges are to 1) produce twice as much sequence data, 2) do it twice as fast, and 3) do it with twice the accuracy. The SOLiD challenge is to sequence both the genome and the RNA content of a single cancer cell, effectively doubling the biological readout that is currently achievable by sequencing a single cell.

To receive the most up-to-date information on the various challenges, please register at, and please join the conversation on Twitter: @Grand_Challenge.

About Life Technologies Next-Generation Sequencing

Life Technologies is the world's leading provider of sequencing technologies, offering the industry's gold standard capillary electrophoresis technology with the 3500 CE and 3500Dx Series Genetic Analyzers, next-generation sequencing technology with the SOLiD System, and the Ion Torrent semiconductor based sequencing technology with the recently launched Ion Torrent PGM.

The 5500 Series SOLiD and Ion Torrent Sequencers are for research use only, and are not intended for animal or human therapeutic or diagnostic use.

About Life Technologies (

Life Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: LIFE) is a global biotechnology tools company dedicated to improving the human condition. Our systems, consumables and services enable researchers to accelerate scientific exploration, driving to discoveries and developments that make life even better. Life Technologies customers do their work across the biological spectrum, working to advance personalized medicine, regenerative science, molecular diagnostics, agricultural and environmental research, and 21st century forensics. Life Technologies had sales of $3.3 billion in 2009, employs approximately 9,000 people, has a presence in approximately 160 countries, and possesses a rapidly growing intellectual property estate of approximately 3,900 patents and exclusive licenses. Life Technologies was created by the combination of Invitrogen Corporation and Applied Biosystems Inc., and manufactures both in-vitro diagnostic products and research use only-labeled products. For more information on how we are making a difference, please visit 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.

Life Technologies
Patty Zamora

Source: Life Technologies Corporation

News Provided by Acquire Media