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University of Warwick Team selected as Contender for $10 million Archon X Prize

University of Warwick spin out company base4innovation has been selected today, Wednesday 10th October 2007, as an official contender for the $10 million Archon X Prize for Genomics. The prize will be awarded to the first team that can build a device which can sequence 100 human genomes within 10 days.

The Archon X PRIZE for Genomics is the second prize launched by the X PRIZE Foundation, following the success of the Ansari Space X PRIZE. To win the $10 million prize purse, teams must successfully sequence 100 human genomes within 10 days for less than $10,000 per genome. This accomplishment would be a revolutionary and much needed step towards personalized medicine.

With support from the University of Warwick, base4innovation is developing a new high-speed, low-cost method of DNA sequencing which combines well-known techniques such as single photon detection and fluorescent labelling with nanostructures and cutting-edge methods of nanofabrication. The team consists of highly talented and innovative physicists and biologists from University of Warwick, and Oxford, and Cambridge Universities. X Prize team leader and base4innovation founder Cameron Alexander Frayling is a researcher at the University of Warwick and the inventor of the innovative method behind the sequencing technology.

base4 innovation’s team leader Cameron Frayling said:

"The Archon X PRIZE is not about great distance or great height. It is about our ability - both as individuals and as a species - to look within. There is nothing more fundamental to who we are, no greater key to our ancestry and origin, than our genetic code."

Marc Hodosh, Senior Director of the Archon X PRIZE for Genomics said:

"We’re delighted to have base4 innovation as our first international team. This is an enormous, yet attainable challenge. We welcome base4 innovation and other entrants from around the world to compete and focus their energy on winning this historic X PRIZE. Such new technology will help mankind better understand disease while advancing proactive and preventative healthcare. "

Cameron Frayling said:

"Given the inherent speed of our system, the sequencing of a human genome could be accomplished in a matter of hours and, requiring only low-cost consumables, has an expected cost of less than $500 per genome."

 

Notes for Editors:

ABOUT THE X PRIZE FOUNDATION: The X PRIZE Foundation is an educational nonprofit prize institute whose mission is to create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. On October 4, 2004, the X PRIZE Foundation captured world headlines when Mojave Aerospace Ventures, led by legendary aircraft designer Burt Rutan and Microsoft Co-founder Paul Allen, built and flew the world’s first private vehicle to space twice in two weeks to win the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE. The X PRIZE Foundation has since launched the $10 million Archon X PRIZE for Genomics and the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE, and will continue to offer new prizes for breakthroughs in the areas of life improvement, exploration, equity of opportunity and sustainability. The Foundation is widely recognized as the leading model for fostering innovation through competition. For more information, please visit www.xprize.org or email press@xprize.org. For more information on the Archon X PRIZE for Genomics, please visit www.genomics.xprize.org

ABOUT BASE4 INNOVATION: Formed in 2007 with support from the University of Warwick and Warwick Ventures, base4 innovation is a group of highly talented and innovative biologists and physicists from the University of Warwick and Oxford and Cambridge University specializing in molecular biology, single photon detection, and nanotechnology.

base4 innovation is developing a new high-speed, low-cost method of DNA sequencing which combines well-known techniques such as photon detection and fluorescent labelling with nanostructures and cutting-edge methods of nanofabrication. For more information, please visit www.base4innovation.co.uk, or e-mail Cameron Frayling at c.frayling@warwick.ac.uk

For further information please contact:

Peter Dunn, Press and Media Relations
+44 (0)24 76 523708 or
+44 (0)7767 655860 p.j.dunn@warwick.ac.uk

PR88 10th Oct 2007