10x Genomics steps into tissue-level gene expression mapping with Spatial Transcriptomics acquisition

10x Genomics is making moves into the emerging field of spatial genomics—which looks to map out the interworking of cells within the context of larger tissues—by buying Spatial Transcriptomics and its tools for high-throughput mRNA analysis.

It hopes that acquiring the Stockholm-based company will help it unlock new biological research possibilities in oncology, neurology and immunology. Financial details were not disclosed.

Spatial Transcriptomics’ workflow links microscopy imaging with RNA sequencing to capture the gene expression of tissue samples. Frozen sections of tissue are affixed to glass chips containing an array of sequencing capture probes, organized in a barcode-like grid, so researchers can visualize different areas of the tissue and determine which genes are expressed in a specific location, and in what quantity.

“The field of genomics has made rapid advances moving from sequencing the human genome to tissue sequencing and then to single cell sequencing in a short period of time,” said Spatial Transcriptomics co-founder Joakim Lundeberg. “Spatial genomic sequencing is the next frontier.”

10x Genomics plans to continue supporting Spatial Transcriptomics’ growth in its existing offices in Sweden, and maintain its current team.

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“10x Genomics is on a quest to unlock a complete understanding of biology, and our recent growth and acquisition activities are accelerating our progress exponentially,” said Serge Saxonov, 10x Genomics’ CEO and co-founder.

“Now, researchers will not only be able to understand what is happening within a cell but also understand where cellular activities are happening in relation to one another,” Saxonov added. “It’s another integral piece of the puzzle that gets us closer to seeing the whole picture of biology to drive new discoveries.”

The latest announcement follows Pleasanton, California-based 10x Genomics’ first acquisition earlier this August, of the single-cell epigenetic sequencing startup Epinomics, which was founded by the developers of ATAC-seq technology, or assays for transposase accessible chromatin. Epinomics works to profile the compounds and proteins that attach to DNA to turn genes on or off and direct the production of specific proteins.