The company has already made its first deal: to sequence 100 genomes in 2009 and 2,000 genomes in 2010 for Leroy Hood at the Institute for Systems Biology, in Seattle. Hood, who in the 1980s developed the first automated sequencing machine, sits on the Complete Genomics advisory board. Hood's project will comprise about ten percent of the facilities sequencing capacity in the first two years.
Even if Complete Genomics faces up to its promises, "they face a lot of competition," says J. Craig Venter. For example, Applied Biosystems, a veteran in the sequencing industry, recently announced a next-generation technology that it believes will be able to sequence genomes for $10,000.