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Small and medium-sized enterprises: Pål Nyrén

Pål Nyrén

Winner of the European Inventor Award 2013 in the category SMEs  

Adding a spark to DNA sequencing

Inventor

Pål Nyrén

Invention

A far faster, less complicated and less time-consuming method to sequence DNA strands that uses the photo-reactive properties of chemicals and DNA enzymes to identify DNA sequences.

Patent numbers

EP 0932700 B1
EP 0946752 B1
EP 1317568 B1

Country

Sweden

Company

Pyrosequencing AB, renamed to Biotage AB, acquired by Qiagen

Sector

Biotechnology

The invention in a nutshell

Adding a spark to DNA sequencingPyrosequencing is a DNA-sequencing technology invented and patented by Pål Nyrén. The technology surpassed existing DNA-sequencing procedures in terms of speed, efficiency and cost. It has been instrumental in driving down the cost of DNA sequencing while greatly increasing its speed and volume.

Societal benefit

Pyrosequencing and related technological advances have driven down the cost of DNA sequencing, to a point where an entire genome can be sequenced for approximately US $8,000. The combined trend of lower costs and greater speeds has revolutionised the study of the building blocks of life, created new fields of study and is helping us understand hereditary diseases and other illnesses. This gives researchers new avenues for pursuing treatments and cures for life-threatening diseases such as cancer.

Economic benefit

In 2008, the company Pål Nyrén co-founded to bring Pyrosequencing to market was acquired by the company Qiagen for US $53 million. The Pyrosequencing method was also licensed to 454 Life Sciences, which is now owned by the pharmaceuticals giant Roche. Presently, the sequencing instrument market generates annual revenues of US $1.6 billion, and is expected to grow to US $2.2 billion within the next four years.

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