Beckman Coulter Life Sciences, Illumina Automate  Next Generation Sequencing Applications

Indiana University Center for Genomics and Bioinformatics Contributes to Collaboration


Beckman Coulter Life Sciences, through a partnership with Illumina, offers automated methods to improve processes and throughput in next generation sequencing (NGS) sample preparation. Under the agreement, Beckman Coulter will use its extensive experience in automated NGS sample preparation to develop, distribute and support automation for Illumina’s TruSeq® and Nextera® sample preparation kits and Illumina will provide technical expertise on chemistry and protocols.

Optimized methods for the Illumina kits are built on Beckman Coulter’s proven Biomek liquid handling platforms and solutions include a unique suite of Biomek methods to address the defined protocol for each Illumina kit. The suites may also automate Beckman Coulter’s Agencourt extraction chemistries, AMPure XP Kit for DNA purification and SPRIselect Reagent Kit for efficient, high throughput, nucleic acid size selection improving important processes for next generation sequencing.

The first suite of methods, for Illumina’s TruSeq Stranded mRNA library kit, were developed on the Biomek FXP Dual Arm Multi 96 and Span 8 instrument through collaboration among scientists from Beckman Coulter and Indiana University Center for Genomics and Bioinformatics. Illumina provided guidance on the chemistry, manual protocol and results analysis. The suite covers all steps defined in each protocol and can process up to 96 samples per run. The methods generate quality libraries verified against Illumina’s benchmark sequencing metrics. Pre-programmed methods will also address qPCR setup, normalization and sample pooling. The suite is targeted for release by the end of May, 2013.

“Considering Beckman Coulter’s many years of expertise in liquid handling and automated NGS sample preparation, the partnership with Illumina is a natural fit,” said Chris Neary, vice president, product management and strategy, Beckman Coulter Life Sciences. “Working with scientists at sequencing facilities like Indiana University has led to the development of high quality methods that improve efficiency, throughput and results, freeing customers from laborious manual preparation and allowing them to spend more time advancing scientific discoveries.”  

“The ever-increasing sequencing capacity of next generation sequencing platforms, such as the Illumina HiSeq® system, gives researchers the opportunity to plan larger and more complex transcriptomic experiments,” said Zach Smith, project scientist at the Indiana University Center for Genomics and Bioinformatics in Bloomington. “To fully leverage that capacity, we rely on automation solutions developed with Beckman Coulter Life Sciences to produce high quality TruSeq Stranded mRNA libraries for our clients. The method we’ve co-developed will result in at least a four-fold increase in productivity over manual library construction and our preliminary findings indicate the libraries produced are more uniform than manual library construction.”

“Beckman Coulter is one of the leading providers of automation solutions to our sequencing customers,” said Peter Fromen, senior director, product marketing and market development at Illumina. “Having automation methods for our sample prep kits on the Biomek platform will benefit those customers by saving them significant time and effort to develop those methods themselves.”