Earlier this week Life Technologies announced the next revision of their SOLiD platform, SOLiD 4. I don't have all the details that I had for the Illumina HiSeq 2000, but here is what I do know: the system will produced 100 Gb of alignable sequence data on two slides per 14 day run. The sequence data will be paired-end, 50×35 base reads. Reagent costs for each run will be about $6,000. Since you need about 100 Gb of sequence to sequence a human genome, you're looking at about $6000 in reagent costs per human genome. They also indicated that capacity for the instrument will increase to 300 Gb per run and the cost for reagents per human genome will be less than $3000 by the end of 2010. In comparison, the Illumina HiSeq 2000 reagent costs will be about $10,000 per human genome at its release with, by my calculations, a path to about $4000 per human genome (I have no idea what the time frame might be to reach the end of that path, but given this announcement by Life, it will likely be aggressive). You have to love the way competition drives down costs. Similar to Illumina's announcement of a big HiSeq 2000 purchase at its announcement, Life announced that Ignite Institute would acquire 100 SOLiD 4 instruments as part of partnership with Life. Life also announced a major bioinformatics investment program as well as a physician education program through their Foundation.

Update: According to the press release, Ignite is "acquiring", not purchasing, the instruments in "partnership" with Life. So it appears this is not an outright purchase of a large number of instruments. I have updated the text in the post to be more accurate.