10x Genomics has shelled out nearly $400 million to establish a presence in foundational In Situ technologies by acquiring two companies specializing in the emerging field of analyzing molecules directly in tissue.
10x Genomics said today it agreed to acquire In Situ technologies developer ReadCoor for $350 million cash and stock, in one of two deals through which the buyer intends to build a third tech platform designed to capture the precise location of molecules at subcellular resolution.
In the other deal—disclosed in a September 8 stock offering prospectus, but also announced today—10x Genomics has acquired CartaNA, a privately held, Stockholm-based developer of In Situ RNA analysis technology, for $41.2 million.
By acquiring CartaNA and ReadCoor, 10x Genomics said, it will acquire more than 110 patents and applications that cover multiple foundational In Situ analysis approaches. 10x Genomics will add the patents and applications to its portfolio of more than 825 issued patents and applications.
A presence in In Situ analysis will support discoveries made by the company’s Chromium and Visium platforms, complementing them, while broadening the range of its customers and enabling new translational and clinical applications, the company reasons.
The Chromium platform is designed to enable high-throughput analysis of individual biological components, such as up to millions of single cells. Last year, 10 Genomics launched the Visium Spatial Gene Expression Solution, designed to allow for investigation of spatially resolved whole transcriptome mRNA expression, while capturing histological information in the same tissue section.
“Our goal has always been to anticipate the frontiers of biology and build products that accelerate science in exponential ways. We believe that In Situ approaches will be essential for how biological research and clinical assays will be conducted in the future,” Serge Saxonov, co-founder and CEO of 10x Genomics, said in a statement.
Headquartered in Pleasanton, CA, 10x Genomics is a developer of integrated solutions including instruments, consumables and software for analyzing biological systems at previously inaccessible resolution and scale. The company completed an initial public offering in September 2019, raising $410.8 million in net proceeds.
10x Genomics said it expected “at a later date” to offer further details on its product strategy and the market opportunity it is designed to address.
The ReadCoor acquisition is expected to be completed later this month, 10x Genomics said, subject to ReadCoor shareholder approval and customary closing conditions.
Wyss Institute Spinout
ReadCoor was spun out of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University in 2016 to commercialize Fluorescent in situ Sequencing (FISSEQ). Wyss and the lab of George Church, Ph.D., of Wyss and Harard Medical School, developed FISSEQ, a panomic spatial sequencing platform designed to read and visualize the 3D coordinates of molecules of intact tissue—a capability that according to the company offers the potential for revolutionizing panomics and pathology.
In 2014, Church and researcher colleagues from Wyss and Harvard Med first published details of the FISSEQ platform in Science. Using 30-base reads from 8742 genes in situ, the researchers examined RNA expression and localization in human primary fibroblasts with a simulated wound-healing assay, detecting 12 differentially regulated genes.
FISSEQ is intended to provide deep insight into cell variation in the context of the tissue microenvironment, a feature that has proven difficult or impossible to obtain with traditional in situ methods. FISSEQ also offers researchers an opportunity to locate genes that have mutated away from the original sequence due to its ability to produce reads without known gene targets—in contrast to most standard in situ methods, which are blind to such changes and can miss altered genes.
The FISSEQ platform includes an instrument, kits, and data analysis and visualization cloudware, with the aim of incorporation into the workflow of researchers in research and drug discovery. ReadCoor’s initial product suite includes research and discovery applications in oncology, infectious disease, and neuroscience.
In addition to drug development, applications of FISSEQ include diagnostics and machine learning.
ReadCoor has raised more than $50 million since its founding—most recently completing a $27 million Series B financing in January, with the proceeds intended to accelerate the commercialization of FISSEQ.
“We conceived of In Situ approaches early on as the best way to perform genomic analysis and develop powerful clinical applications. Since then we have been innovating and building out an extensive range of capabilities to bring those ideas to reality and transform the world of biomedicine,” ReadCoor founder and CEO Richard Terry stated. “We have followed and been impressed with 10x Genomics for years and look forward to combining forces as we execute on a shared vision.”
CartaNa’s technology consists of a suite of proprietary reagents designed to enable researchers to visualize spatially resolved RNA expression profiles with sub-cellular resolution throughout fresh frozen or formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue sections.
CartaNA was founded in 2016 by In Situ analysis pioneer Mats Nilsson, PhD, of Stockholm University, and other scientists from there and the Karolinska Institutet.
“Our team has been focused on developing In Situ technologies for a number of years, starting with work at Stockholm University and Karolinska Institutet,” said Malte Kuhnemund, co-founder and EVP of R&D at CartaNA. “We are thrilled to join 10x and become a part of their Swedish research center in Stockholm as we continue to build and deliver products for scientists around the globe.”
Nilsson and Church will become scientific advisors to 10x Genomics as a result of the acquisitions of CartaNA and ReadCoor, respectively.
“Both companies have made significant technical advances, which will serve as a powerful foundation for future product development at 10x,” Saxonov added. “We look forward to joining forces to help our customers make amazing new discoveries to advance human health.”