When you are looking for a sequencing facility there are two main factors to consider aside from the quality of the data cost and turn-around time (TAT). We've researched many facilities across the globe and this is what we have found:
First, the cost of sequencing varies widely between facilities. In part, this is due to the facility's source of funding: governmental or private. Most government funded academic institutions run their sequencers at cost for their internal users (students and professors). They usually have a pricing structure as follows: cheapest for internal, more expensive for external nonprofit users and the most expensive (sometimes as much as a 50% surcharge) for external for-profit users. To illustrate the significant pricing differences between just a handful of academic sequencing cores see Figure 1- A cost comparison between facilities for a single NextSeq 500 High-Output PE150 run - all of these prices are for external for-profit users. While academic cores often offer the cheapest price they are not always the fastest option. TAT is variable with academic sequencing cores as they typically have a small staff, one or two sequencers, and prioritize their internal users - which often translates into longer TATs.
Commercial facilities usually have higher pricing and better TATs, but not always. Some of the major players have the highest pricing and a wide range of TATs (i.e. 3-8 weeks). If you have a large project they will be more flexible and cater to your needs. However, with small projects (anything less than a full flow cell) you start to run into delays and poor customer service. Additionally, much like academic cores, commercial NGS facilities also present a wide range of pricing for standard sequencing options, see Figure 2 - A Cost Comparison between Commercial NGS Facilities for 1 HiSeq X SBS Lane PE150.
We at NGX Bio are constantly evaluating the facilities that we work with to find the best option for all of your projects. Over the past few years, we have established a wide network of services - through academic cores and large commercial facilities that we have hand-selected to fit your needs. Our business model enables us to isolate which facility offers the best price, TAT and data quality for each NGS platform. Furthermore, we offer excellent customer service which can be a rare find in our experience gained from evaluating facilities all over the world.
Figure 1: Cost comparison between cores for a single NextSeq 500 High-Output PE150 run.
Figure 2: Cost Comparison between Commercial NGS Facilities for 1 HiSeq X SBS Lane PE150.