Adaptive Biotech Plans $230 Million IPO to Advance Immune Sequencing Technologies


Seattle-based Adaptive Biotechnologies announced plans for an initial public offering (IPO) to raise up to $230 million.

Founded in 2009 by brothers Chad and Harlan Robins, the company utilizes high-throughput gene sequencing with computer infrastructure that allows scientists to minutely analyze T-cell receptors (TCR). Prior to this breakthrough, it was possible to catalog about 30,000 unique TCRs out of 100 million. The new tech allows scientists to identify 10 to 15 million in a single individual.

“Our goal is to understand the adaptive immune system and translate it into new products with unprecedented scale, precision and speed,” Adaptive stated in its preliminary prospectus for the IPO. As such, it is focused on cancers, autoimmune and infectious diseases.

The company has 346 staffers and to date has raised more than $400 million in private funding. Its largest shareholders are Viking Global Entities, which holds 36%, and Matrix Capital Management with 16.4%. In 2018, the company had a net loss of $46.4 million on revenues of $55.6 million, and as of March 31 reported having $440 million in cash and cash equivalents. About two-thirds of the revenue derived from sequencing services. Its accumulated deficit as of March 2019 was $314 million.

In early 2018 Adaptive partnered with Microsoft to develop a blood test that could diagnose multiple diseases in a single assay. The idea was to utilize artificial intelligence to map the immune system’s response to foreign substances and toxins. In January 2019, the companies announced they were ready to roll and placed an open call for collaborators to help sequence immune data from 25,000 people with five diseases: type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer and Lyme disease.

In January 2019, Adaptive inked a deal with Genentech, a Roche company, to develop, manufacture and commercialize novel neoantigen directed T-cell therapies for a number of cancers. This partnership combines Genentech’s cancer immunotherapy R&D with Adaptive’s T-cell receptor (TCR) discovery and immune profiling platform (TruTCR). Adaptive’s technology platform quickly identifies TCRs that may be the most effective at recognizing and targeting specific neoantigens, proteins created by tumor-specific mutations not observed in normal tissues. Genentech paid Adaptive $300 million up front for that deal.

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The prospectus indicates the $440 million in cash and the proceeds from the IPO will fund the company’s activities for the next two years.

At the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting being held this weekend, the company is presenting data from more than 15 studies for clonoSEQ and immunoSEQ.

“At Adaptive, we are decoding the adaptive immune system to help diagnose and treat disease,” stated Chad Robins, co-founder and chief executive officer of Adaptive. “With our FDA-cleared NGS MRD Assay, clonoSEQ, we are enabling physicians in clinical practice to monitor and track a patient’s minimal residual disease (MRD) status to predict outcomes and guide treatment decisions. Additionally, our immunoSEQ research tool is helping to validate response to immunotherapies and assess toxicity. We remain committed to expanding the clinical applications of our immune medicine platform to reach greater numbers of patients.”

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