Without breakthrough innovations in sequencing technology, researchers still might be at the bench cracking the code for the human genome. But the next wave of sequencers needs to be even faster and cheaper in order to address needs in genetic studies, pharmacogenetics and forensics. Thus U.S. Genomics Inc. is looking past traditional gel electrophoresis techniques to arrive at an even quicker approach to sequencing DNA.

U.S. Genomics' core technology, which was conceived out of CEO Eugene Chan's dorm room at Harvard Medical School, emulates the natural process of reading a sequence of nucleic acids used by DNA polymerase during the DNA replication process. According Chan, "the tough part is how do you uncoil the DNA?"