Forbes: Adaptive Buys Sequenta to Disrupt Cancer Diagnosis, Drug Discovery
Adaptive Buys Sequenta to Disrupt Cancer Diagnosis, Drug Discovery
By Luke Timmerman, Contributor to Forbes
Jan. 7, 2014
Twice in the past year, Adaptive Biotechnologies raised a truckload of cash. The first time, the company invested in its cutting-edge immune system sequencing. This time, it is using the loot to acquire a competitor, and hatch new plans to build a company with potentially profound influence over the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases, autoimmunity, and cancer.
Seattle-based Adaptive, a spinoff from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, is announcing today it has acquired South San Francisco-based Sequenta in a cash-and-stock deal. Terms aren’t being disclosed, but Adaptive raised $94 million in private equity cash to swing it. Hedge fund Viking Global Investors made the bet on Adaptive less than a year after pumping in $105 million. Sequenta shareholders will get a minority equity stake in the combined company—now valued by investors at more than $500 million. Viking, one of the largest shareholders in DNA sequencing giant Illumina, made separate news earlier this week by leading a jaw-dropping $450 million investment in another biotech startup, Moderna Therapeutics.
Adaptive and Sequenta, founded a little more than five years ago, are both shaking up the way scientists, doctors, and drugmakers think about the immune system in more precise terms. Unlike other cell types, which operate on a fixed set of code from the human genome, immune system cells play by their own rules. Immune system cells rearrange their DNA constantly in response to the environment, providing infinite possibilities for defense against an infinite number of threats. That phenomenon calls out for repeated sequencing to see how an individual’s immune response adapts over time.
Read the full article at Forbes.