When I interviewed the CEO of one of those firms, Serge Saxanov of 10x Genomics, more than a year ago what struck me is his statement that scientists understood less than 5% of the biology of the human body.
10x is one of those remarkable success stories. It makes the equipment that enables researchers explore the body at a sub-cellular level. Founded in 2012, it went public last year at $39 per share and was valued at $3.6 billion after the initial public offering. In January 2019, it closed its Series D fundraising as the Livermore Valley’s first homegrown unicorn valued at more than $1 billion.
The situation, with COVID-19 driving research, has only improved for 10x Genomics. One year ago, the stock closed at $50 per share. A year later, the stock has soared to $157. That brought its valuation to almost $16.4 billion—quite a one-year run.
The company builds integrated solutions including instruments, consumables and software for analyzing biological systems. Its products are used by 97 of the top 100 global research institutions and 19 of the top 20 global pharmaceutical firms. It has more than 825 issued patents and patent applications in its portfolio.
Last week, 10x announced two acquisitions (the soaring stock price helps) that position it to broaden its services. It is acquiring ReadCoor, Inc., headquartered in Boston, for cash and stock of $350 million. In August it acquired Stockholm-based CartaNA AB for $42 million. Both firms are developing In Situ technologies. The technology gives scientists the ability to measure large numbers of molecules at the sub-cellular resolution. It complements existing 10x Chromium Single Cell and Visium Spatial platforms. This will be the third major technology platform.
“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. After a comprehensive assessment of In Situ efforts worldwide, we are thrilled to welcome ReadCoor and CartaNA to the 10x team,” said Saxonov in a press release. "Both companies have made significant technical advances, which will serve as a powerful foundation for future product development at 10x. We look forward to joining forces to help our customers make amazing new discoveries to advance human health.”
ReadCoor was spun out of George Church’s lab at Harvard University and CartaNA came out of work from Mats Nilsson’s SciLife Lab at Stockholm University. In connection with the acquisitions, George Church and Mats Nilsson will become scientific advisors to 10x Genomics, according to the press release.
The CartaNA transaction has closed, while the ReadCoor acquisition is expected to close later this month.