Adaptive buys Sequenta to pool immune sequencing capabilities

Adaptive Biotechnologies is keeping its foot on the gas. Having raised $105 million from VCs in April, the immune sequencing firm has now added a further $94 million and bought Sequenta for an undisclosed sum of cash and stock.

The deal brings together two companies that have taken different approaches to the same topic, namely the use of immune system sequencing to improve drug discovery and disease diagnosis. San Francisco, CA-based Sequenta has focused its energy on diagnostics, culminating in the in vitro diagnostic deal it struck with Illumina ($ILMN) in November. Adaptive has gone deeper into R&D and signed up AstraZeneca ($AZN), Juno Therapeutics ($JUNO) and Pfizer ($PFE) as clients.

Continued advances in both fields could reshape healthcare. "You can imagine getting an immune-system checkup every few years. Patterns would emerge, like susceptibility to cancer, or an ongoing development of an autoimmune disease. You could see it through analysis of big data sets," Julian Adams, president of R&D at Infinity Pharmaceuticals, told new Forbes contributor Luke Timmerman. Adams has evaluated the methods used by both Adaptive and Sequenta.

On a more mundane level, the deal ends the risk of patent disputes between the companies and may create a business that is big enough to become a profitable. Costly clinical validation of technology lies between the companies and the immune-system checkup scenario, an outlay Sequenta thinks it is better placed to make as part of a bigger organization.

- read the Forbes piece
- and the release

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