Adaptive Biotechnologies Corporation, a pioneer in leveraging next generation sequencing to profile T-cell and B-cell receptors, today announced the acquisition of Sequenta, Inc. which is expected to expedite and expand the use of novel immunosequencing products for researchers and clinicians to diagnose, treat, and monitor patients with cancer, autoimmune disorders, and infectious diseases.
Immunosequencing, which uses next generation sequencing tools to quantitatively characterize the adaptive immune system, represents a multi-billion dollar opportunity given the role the immune system plays in almost all areas of medicine. To date, Adaptive has primarily focused on developing tools and services for researchers, and Sequenta has focused on developing similar technology for use in monitoring of minimal residual disease, or MRD, for patients with blood cancers. Adaptive and its collaborators also have released promising research on the use of immunosequencing to measure the immune response to solid tumors and to immunotherapeutic drugs designed to enhance the response to cancer, which is the fastest growing class of new drugs for cancer patients.
“Our mission is to change the course of medicine through sequencing a patient’s adaptive immune system. Over the past few months it has become increasingly clear that joining forces with Sequenta would accelerate our ability to make the promise of immunosequencing a reality for physicians and patients,” said Chad Robins, CEO of Adaptive. “By combining our resources, we can increase the number of clinical trials we are able to run to validate clinical applications of immunosequencing, and explore new and innovative research and development initiatives that neither of us would have been able to do alone.”
The companies anticipate a complementary integration of talent across senior management, R&D, bioinformatics, and sales. Sequenta founders Tom Willis and Malek Faham will join Adaptive’s senior leadership team reporting to Chad Robins, who will remain CEO of the combined company. Dr. Willis and Dr. John Stuelpnagel, Sequenta’s Chairman, Illumina co-founder, and Chairman of Ariosa Diagnostics, also will join Adaptive’s board of directors.
In addition to expanding the use of its research platform for academic and pharmaceutical researchers, the combined company will focus extensively on commercializing the technology for measuring MRD in blood cancers. “We believe immunosequencing represents a more sensitive and accurate alternative to the current standard of care used to detect MRD in patients with blood cancers, including flow cytometry. Together, we can accelerate the adoption of this technology in clinical practice and in clinical trials for revolutionary new therapies that use MRD to determine patient specific care paradigms,” said Dr. Willis.
Chad Robins will be presenting on behalf of the new combined company at the upcoming J.P. Morgan 33rd Annual Healthcare Conference in San Francisco on January 12. He will share how this strategic integration will enable the Company to expand its preeminent immunosequencing research platform and clinical diagnostic products. He will also participate on a panel later the same day with other leaders from Foundation Medicine, Invitae, and Regeneron who are likewise focused on accelerating the adoption of next generation sequencing for diagnostic applications.
J.P. Morgan acted as financial advisor to Adaptive Biotechnologies on this acquisition, which was funded in part by a new Series E financing round. DLA Piper and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati acted as legal counsel to Adaptive and Sequenta, respectively.