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Adaptive Reels in Whopping $195M For Immuno-Sequencing Work

Xconomy Seattle — 

[Updated, 5/7/15, 11:10 am ET] Adaptive Biotechnologies of Seattle is continuing its busy year, announcing this morning it has reeled it $195 million in financing from a group of new investors.

The big cash haul comes four months after the sequencing company, which specializes in understanding the immune system, raised $94 million to help buy a rival, Sequenta. Adaptive has now raised approximately $400 million since the beginning of 2014, including a $105 million haul last April.

[An early version of this story omitted lead investor Matrix Capital Management] The round was led by new backer Matrix Capital Management, with participation from other new investors Senator Investment Group, Tiger Management, Rock Springs Capital, and an undisclosed “large healthcare investor,” according to the company. Existing investors Viking Global, Casdin Capital and Alexandria Real Estate Equities also joined the round. Viking is a Greenwich, CT-based hedge fund that put in $200 million across Adaptive’s two previous financings.

With the staggering amount of cash from non-traditional sources—none of the named investors since early 2014 have been traditional biotech venture firms—Adaptive seems poised to make a run at the public markets, even as biotech stocks have sagged the past couple weeks. Several biotechs have armed themselves for potential IPOs with rounds like Adaptive’s as of late, among them Jounce Therapeutics, Dimension Therapeutics, and Voyager Therapeutics.

Adaptive said in its announcement today it plans to push ahead with a new way to find targets for T-cell therapy and expand its immune-system sequencing products, which capture the complex genetic underpinnings of the adaptive immune system. Unlike other cells in the body, certain cells in the immune system are constantly shuffling their genetic code to meet the constant threats from invading pathogens. Cancer is a pathogen, too, but tumor cells have a myriad of ways to thwart or evade the immune system, which makes technology like Adaptive’s—which offers deep dives and analyses of people’s ever-changing immune systems—potentially invaluable both to doctors who want to diagnose and treat patients, and to researchers looking to make better, more targeted treatments for cancer and other diseases.

Adaptive was formed in 2008 as Adaptive TCR, a spinout of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. The company sells its services to academics but also has partnerships in place with a number of pharmaceutical companies, among them Bristol-Myers Squibb, Biogen, and Pfizer, which use Adaptive’s technology to help find patients who would best respond to their drugs in clinical trials.

Adaptive CEO Chad Robins (pictured above) will be at our live event today in Seattle to talk more about the news and Adaptive’s plans.