JPM Healthcare Conference Day 1: Seer, Twist, 10x, Guardant, Natera, Bruker, Adaptive, Qiagen, Sema4 – GenomeWeb

 <a href="/request-premium-quote" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Request an Annual Quote</a>   <br>     <a href="/request-premium-quote" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Request an Annual Quote</a>   <br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>NEW YORK – The 40th Annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference kicked off on Monday, as conference organizers pivoted to a virtual conference instead of the usual live event at the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco due to the resurgent</span><span> coronavirus pandemic. Nonetheless, the conference got off to its normal busy start with several </span><span>diagnostics</span><span> and genomic tools firms making their case to investors. Below are brief reports on individual presentations webcast by the companies or through the JP Morgan conference portal.</span></span><span> </span><br><strong><span>Seer</span></strong><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Omid </span><span>Farokhzad</span><span>, Seer's chairman and CEO, announced during his presentation that the company has started broad commercial sales of its </span><span>Proteograph</span><span> proteomics platform and that it has booked "multiple orders" thus far.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>This follows a year in which the company placed platforms with a cohort of </span></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>early-access users</span></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span> that <a href="" target="_blank" class="inline-paragraph-link" rel="noopener">have explored</a> the system for purposes including biomarker discovery, deep proteomic profiling of plasma, and </span><span>glycoproteomics</span><span>.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Farokhzad</span><span> also announced that Seer along with mass spectrometry firm </span><span>Sciex</span><span> and Discovery Life Sciences (one of the company's early-access users) have agreed to form what they are calling the </span><span>Proteogenomics</span><span> Consortium, with the goal of allowing genomics researchers to add proteomic data to their studies. </span><span>Farokhzad</span><span> said the consortium aims to build the capacity to run 100,000 samples per year. It will combine the </span><span>Proteograph</span><span> system and </span><span>Sciex's</span><span> </span><span>ZenoTOF</span><span> 7600 mass spec and will begin offering analysis services in the second half of 2022.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Additional, </span><span>Farokhzad</span><span> said that Seer has launched a Center of Excellence program through which the company will offer its technology with various service providers including Evotec, South Korean firm </span><span>Soulbrain</span><span>, </span><span>Biodesix</span><span>, Discovery Life Sciences, and Sanford Burnham </span><span>Prebys</span><span> Medical Discovery Institute.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>The </span><span>Proteograph</span><span> system uses nanoparticle-based enrichment of proteins in samples like human plasma to enable deeper proteomic discovery experiments at high throughput. The technology is based on the observation that when incubated in a biological sample, nanoparticles collect proteins, which form a "corona." Given this, nanoparticles can serve as an enrichment tool, allowing researchers to pull proteins out of a sample, which they can then identify and quantify using technologies like mass spec.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Farokhzad</span><span> said that as of the start of 2022, Seer has several multiple large-scale studies using its technology ongoing, including a prostate cancer study looking at some 1,000 serum samples to identify biomarkers useful for clinical assessment of a patient's prostate cancer; a </span><span>multiomics</span><span> study looking at cancer biomarkers across a cohort of roughly 2,000 samples; and a 1,500-sample project focused on aging.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Regarding customer demand for the </span><span>Proteograph</span><span> platform, </span><span>Farokhzad</span><span> said Seer anticipates that the "lion's share" of initial sales will come from industry given the longer sales cycle of academic customers.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Discussing the China market, where Seer in August 2021 <a href="" target="_blank" class="inline-paragraph-link" rel="noopener">signed an </a></span></span><a href="" target="_blank" class="inline-paragraph-link" rel="noopener"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>exclusive distribution agreement</span></span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span> with Enlight Medical to manage sales, marketing, and customer service, CFO David Horn said that the company expected only modest sales from the country in 2022 but that it has seen strong interest in the </span><span>Proteograph</span><span> system.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>"The issue with China right now … is actually trying to get folks into China," he said. "With COVID it has been extremely hard to get individuals on the ground there for training and installation and that kind of thing."</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Farokhzad</span><span> said that in response to feedback from early-access users, Seer is now exploring approaches to lower the sample volume required by the system as well as to lower the number of mass spec injections required by an experiment </span><span>in order to</span><span> further improve throughput. The company is also looking to streamline the process of integrating proteomic data generated using the system with other kinds of omics data, he said.</span></span><span> </span><br><strong><span>Twist Bioscience</span></strong><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span> </span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Twist Bioscience CEO Emily </span><span>Leproust</span><span> introduced a new enzymatic DNA synthesis chemistry developed by company researchers on Monday as she discussed ways the company is growing. </span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>The new enzymatic chemistry "drastically" reduces the amount of nucleotide triphosphate used compared to existing enzymatic approaches. This lowers </span><span>cost</span><span> and is more sustainable, </span><span>Leproust</span><span> said. It is also scarless, allowing the resulting DNA to be used interchangeably with naturally occurring DNA. </span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Previous enzymatic synthesis methods are more error prone, yield shorter oligos, and are more expensive, she said. They introduce errors at a rate of 1 in 400 bp, compared to 1 in 2,000 bp for chemical synthesis; oligo </span><span>are</span><span> shorter than 100 bp, compared to up to 300 bp; and cost is $50 per oligo, compared to as little as $0.03, she claimed. </span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>"We are quite excited about our new approach. We think it can be useful in data storage, creating new product lines in our core business," she said. However, Twist did not provide metrics on error rate, oligo length, or cost for the new enzymatic method. </span></span><span> "W</span>e expect it will be similar to our costs for phosphoramidite chemistry, a significant savings over all other enzymatic providers," a Twist spokesperson said in an email.<br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>The company will continue to use its existing </span><span>phosphoramidite</span><span> chemistry as it optimizes its enzymatic method. "</span></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>We see enzymatic synthesis playing a critical role in applications like DNA data storage, primers and probes for PCR, cell-free production of plasmid DNA, qPCR assays, [and] decentralized DNA synthesis, and look forward to expanding our markets by offering these applications either directly through our channel or as OEM to our customers in the future," she added.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>In general, "the bases are loaded for core business growth," </span><span>Leproust</span><span> said, adding that "2022 will be a year of monetization for biopharma." The firm reiterated fiscal year 2022 revenue guidance of between $183 million and $193 million. </span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>On the biopharma side, Twist expects that its spinout </span><span>Revelar</span><span> Biotherapeutics will place its first antibody drug candidate in the clinic in the first half of the year. </span><span>Revelar</span><span> has licensed an antibody to treat COVID-19, with up to $10 million in funding from Twist against up to $100 million in milestone and "mid single-digit" million royalties. </span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Twist's work on its chip for DNA data storage continues to progress, </span><span>Leproust</span><span> noted. </span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>She also highlighted partnerships with Pacific Biosciences and Singular Genomics, <a href="" target="_blank" class="inline-paragraph-link" rel="noopener">announced Monday</a>, to customize its sequencing target enrichment and library preparation workflows for those companies' platforms. </span></span><span> </span><br><strong><span>10x Genomics</span></strong><strong><span> </span></strong><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>10x Genomics CEO Serge </span><span>Saxonov</span><span> revealed several new products the company is planning to release this year and next.  </span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>The firm will court the clinical and translational market with a new RNA profiling kit for use with paraformaldehyde fixed samples. The new chemistry will make it easier for researchers to collect samples in multicenter clinical studies. </span><span>Saxonov</span><span> said the kit will provide whole transcriptomes as well as measurements for some proteins, through 10x's feature barcoding technology. The kit will launch in mid-2022. </span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Also coming in 2022 are antibody and T-cell receptor discovery platforms called BEAM-ab and BEAM-T, respectively. Combining antigen barcoding with software to analyze B and T cell binding enables "massive scale," </span><span>Saxonov</span><span> said. "With BEAM-Ab, you effectively get a general platform for antibody discovery." In an internal experiment, 10x researchers looked for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. In the span of a week, they found 55 </span><span>broadly-neutralizing</span><span> human antibodies with picomolar affinity, two of which had pan-coronavirus activity.  </span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>For the </span><span>Visium</span><span> spatial transcriptomics platform, </span><span>Saxonov</span><span> reiterated that 10x's </span><span>CytAssist</span><span> instrument, which helps prepare histology slides, would launch this year. Researchers have published more than 185 papers and preprint publications using </span><span>Visium</span><span>, he noted.  </span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>And he provided the first glimpse of the </span><span>firm's</span><span> </span></span><em><span>in situ</span></em><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span> analysis platform, officially named Xenium, which will offer single-molecule DNA, RNA, and protein detection at subcellular resolution, in both fixed and fresh frozen samples. The company plans to offer pre-designed and custom panels.  </span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>10x has been promising an </span></span><em><span>in situ</span></em><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span> analysis platform </span></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><a href="" target="_blank" class="inline-paragraph-link" rel="noopener">since acquiring</a> </span><span>ReadCoor</span><span> and </span><span>Cartana</span><span> in 2020</span></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>. "The challenge for </span></span><em><span>in situ</span></em><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span> is that you have to deal with the fundamental chemistry of tissues," </span><span>Saxonov</span><span> said. "That's where we're investing our attention, so that once it gets to the customer, it just works."  </span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>10x will provide "technology access" for Xenium later this year, aiming for commercial availability in 2023.  </span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>The firm noticed decreased activity in European customer labs in December, attributable to the spread of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, 10x CFO Justin </span><span>McAnear</span><span> said during the Q&amp;A part of the session. "We have yet to see a meaningful change from the situation."  </span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Saxonov</span><span> noted that the firm's installed base has grown to 3,500 instruments. He suggested that of the more than 90,000 researchers who applied for funding from the US National Institutes of Health, approximately 50,000 could benefit from the use of single-cell technologies. </span></span><span> </span><br><strong><span>Guardant Health</span></strong><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Three years after going public, Guardant Health now has 200 million covered lives, $1.7 billion on its balance sheet, and has witnessed a compound annual growth rate of 59 percent. It boasts more than 250,000 tests ordered by an excess of 11,000 ordering oncologists, and approximately 100 biopharma partners.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Co-CEO Helmy </span><span>Eltoukhy</span><span> noted the firm went from a single product 18 months ago to five products currently.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Its Guardant 360 liquid biopsy assay continues to see strong adoption, and the company has also launched Guardant 360 Response and Tissue Next tests, Guardant Reveal. </span><span>Eltoukhy</span><span> added the Guardant 360 </span><span>CDx</span><span> test was the first comprehensive liquid biopsy assay to receive FDA approval.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>The firm now has more than 250 publications describing its assays, numerous trials in progress, and expects that this year will mark "a new chapter at Guardant," with offerings across the continuum of cancer care, co-CEO </span><span>AmirAli</span><span> </span><span>Talasaz</span><span> also said.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>For Guardant Reveal, which </span></span><a class="Hyperlink SCXW38259582 BCX2 inline-paragraph-link" href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><u><span>launched</span></u></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span> in 2021, the firm expects to move beyond colorectal cancer to multicancer testing with results from the Observation of Residual Cancer with Liquid Biopsy Evaluation, or </span></span><a class="Hyperlink SCXW38259582 BCX2 inline-paragraph-link" href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><u><span>ORACLE</span></u></a><u><span>,</span></u><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span> study of 11 solid tumor types. The firm is targeting 30 trial sites in the US and Spain and enrolling more than 1,000 patients in the prospective observational study. The results may unlock a $20 billion in total addressable market for minimal residual disease testing across all tumor types.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>So far, Reveal has also shown strong performance for MRD detection in CRC and breast cancer, with integration of genomic and epigenomic </span><span>ctDNA</span><span> signals increasing sensitivity by as much as 2.5 times.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Guardant will also launch the Smart liquid biopsy platform this year, which will be 100 times larger and have higher sensitivity than its 360 </span><span>CDx</span><span>, enabling the evaluation of genomic, epigenomic, and immune signatures.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Talasaz</span><span> presented a business thesis of dramatic growth by 2023 in the cancer screening domain of its business. The firm expects results from its </span></span><a class="Hyperlink SCXW38259582 BCX2 inline-paragraph-link" href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><u><span>ECLIPSE</span></u></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span> trial this year and to submit the Next Generation Guardant Shield cancer screening test to the FDA in the second half and to launch the test as an LDT in the first half of the year. The test will be 30 times larger, advancing from a panel size of 500kb to 16MB.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>The firm expects its prospective lung cancer trial, called SHIELD Lung, of approximately 10,000 high-risk patients to have the potential to enable FDA approval and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services coverage.</span></span><span> </span><br><strong><span>Natera</span></strong><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>CEO Steve Chapman divided his time between detailing recent advances in the firm's legacy NIPT business and outlining its approaches to transplant and oncology testing.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>The firm now has more than 100 published studies of its tests across its three business units that have evaluated 1.3 million patients, and it has performed more than 3 million tests.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>This past year was "transformational," Chapman said, with 52 percent year-over-year growth in tests processed.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>The firm's SNP-based Microdeletion and Aneuploidy Registry, or SMART, trial results coupled with the </span></span><a class="Hyperlink SCXW38259582 BCX2 inline-paragraph-link" href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><u><span>endorsement</span></u></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span> in August 2020 of average-risk testing by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also drove growth, Chapman said. Natera</span><span> expects to advance further into the average-risk pregnancy market with its NIPT testing and anticipates reaching 90 percent penetration in the coming years.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Chapman detailed the potential case for ACOG endorsement of NIPT testing for 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, describing a 53 percent PPV for the test coupled with potential early interventions that can prevent brain damage in babies with the disease. "The 22q [microdeletion] is our focus with the societies and peer-reviewed publications," Chapman said.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>On the transplant front, Chapman highlighted initial results from the </span></span><a class="Hyperlink SCXW38259582 BCX2 inline-paragraph-link" href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><u><span>Trifecta study</span></u></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span> of its Prospera test for kidney transplantation, with full results expected this quarter. Along with Prospera Heart and Prospera</span><span> Lung, the firm plans to unlock a $50 billion total addressable market in transplant testing.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>In oncology, Natera expects results from the </span></span><a class="Hyperlink SCXW38259582 BCX2 inline-paragraph-link" href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><u><span>Circulate-IDEA</span></u></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span> trial of its </span><span>Signatera</span><span> minimal residual disease colorectal cancer test to be reported at the ASCO-GI conference in two weeks.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Chapman said the goal for </span><span>Signatera</span><span> over the next two years is to gain endorsement in National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines for CRC as well as Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and private payor coverage for five other cancer types.</span></span><span> </span><br><strong><span>Bruker</span></strong><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Bruker CEO Frank </span><span>Laukien</span><span> announced preliminary fiscal fourth quarter financial results of $665 million to $670 million, representing an increase of 6 percent to 7 percent from $627.5 million in the </span></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>prior-year</span></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span> quarter, with year-over-year organic growth of 8 percent to 9 percent. Analysts on average expect Q4 revenues of $660.7 million</span><span>.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>The Billerica, Massachusetts-based company expects full-year 2021 revenues of approximately $2.4 billion, in line with analyst estimates and representing an increase of 21 percent from $1.99 billion in the prior year, with</span><span> organic growth of 18 percent.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Laukien</span><span> said that Bruker expects 2021 earnings per share of more than $2.00</span><span>, representing year-over-year growth of more than 50 percent. Analysts on average expect 2021 EPS of $2.09.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Bruker sees "breakout opportunities" in proteomics and spatial biology that are part of its Project Accelerate 2.0 initiatives intended to drive high growth and high margins, </span><span>Laukien</span><span> said</span><span>.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>In 2021, he noted, the company had announced the US Food and Drug Administration clearance and launch of its MBT </span><span>Sepsityper</span><span> Kit. Running on the firm's MALDI </span><span>Biotyper</span><span> CA System, the kit provides microbial identification in less than 30 minutes of more than 425 microorganisms from positive blood cultures. Bruker trained more than 100 customers on the kit last year, </span><span>Laukien</span><span> said, including new MALDI </span><span>Biotyper</span><span> customers and current customers wanting to add the </span><span>Sepsityper</span><span> assay.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>In 2021, Bruker's MALDI </span><span>Biotyper</span><span> unit growth rate reached double digits and the firm sold more than 600 units for the first time. Globally, the firm now has an installed base of more than 5,000 units, which represents</span><span> the most profitable part of its business. </span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>System growth is particularly noticeable in the US where the installed base is about half of the number in Europe, </span><span>Laukien</span><span> said, adding that Bruker has developed a research-use-only, fast antibiotic susceptibility panel which </span><span>is expected to enter clinical trials in Europe around the middle of this year.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Bruker's proteomics business continued to perform well in 2021, reaching $250 million, or more, in revenues. Its </span><span>timsTOF</span><span> 4D-Proteomics platform for mass spectrometry imaging saw more than 30 percent year-over-year revenue </span><span>growth, and</span><span> reached more than $100 million in revenues and an installed base of more </span><span>than 425 units. </span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>The firm expects the </span><span>timsTOF</span><span> platform to continue to grow in </span><span>the double</span><span> digits, </span><span>Laukien</span><span> said, adding that it</span><span> received around 10 orders for a new $1 </span><span>million,</span><span> single-cell proteomics system that it launched early last June. </span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Laukien</span><span> further noted that Bruker launched its benchtop Fourier 80 FT-NMR system in Europe in 2020, the Americas in the first half of 2021, and the Asia Pacific region in the second half of 2021. The system, usually priced at $100,000 or less depending on configuration and automation, should see rapid adoption by industrial and academic customers, </span><span>Laukien</span><span> said. Bruker sold 50 units in 2021. </span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>"The results cap a strong 2021 for [Bruker], driven by a strong recovery in industrials and academic markets and demand in their growing biopharma segment," SVB Leerink analyst Puneet Souda</span><span> said in a research note on Monday. </span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Bruker expects to report final financial results for Q4 and full-year 2021 and provide 2022 guidance in mid-February</span><span>.</span></span><span> </span><br><strong><span>Adaptive Biotechnologies</span></strong><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Adaptive Biotechnologies CEO Chad Robins described the continuing development of the company's two major and diverging business arms: immune medicine and minimal residual disease testing for hematologic cancers. </span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>In immune medicine, where Adaptive aims to market a franchise of clinical T cell-based assays, the firm believes it can now carry through a multi-pronged diagnostic, research, and drug development strategy, modeled on its experience in the COVID-19 arena, into a variety of other disease areas.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>"By mapping the immune receptor data specific to SARS-CoV-2, we were able to launch T-Detect as a clinical diagnostic, stand up a research tool for vaccine developers and for academic institutions to measure the T-cell response to vaccines, and we partnered on the design and development of a T-cell based vaccine," Robins said.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>"This concept of one data set with multiple opportunities is the approach that we are planning to replicate disease after disease after disease."</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Currently, </span><span>Adaptive's</span><span> T-Detect COVID is offered as a self-pay test to consumers to confirm past infection to SARS-CoV-2. Robins said that more than 30,000 consumers ordered the test in 2021, with notable upticks following the emergence of new virus variants. </span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>The firm's immediate next step is to build in an added ability to quantitatively measure the level and durability of T-cell response to both natural infections and vaccines, an update it is currently discussing with the US Food and Drug Administration. In addition, Robins said, the company is working with academic and biopharma partners to expand the use of the test as a correlate of protection.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>The company's COVID-response T cell receptor profiling efforts have also informed a new vaccine candidate being advanced by Nykode</span><span>. Robins said that the first trial of the vaccine has now dosed its first subject and is expected to yield early phase I/II data by the end of the first half of this year.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Outside of COVID, the firm's cancer T-cell therapy development deals with Genentech are also nearing completion, with a decision from the biopharma firm on whether to move forward now "imminent" for at least one candidate.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>In the autoimmune space, Adaptive is focusing its R&amp;D efforts on disorders where it believes there is a large market in both clinical diagnostics and drug development. The firm now has what Robins called "promising signals" for T-Detect diagnostics in five diseases: Crohn's disease, colitis, celiac disease, multiple sclerosis</span><span> and rheumatoid arthritis.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Adaptive hopes to confirm and clinically validate these signals in 2022, with the expectation of launching its first autoimmune test in 2023. The firm continues to plan to launch its T-Detect Lyme disease test, already technically validated, during the next Lyme season.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>As Robins implied in discussing the company's experience with T-Detect COVID, the same diseases are also focuses for drug development, with some novel targets already identified. </span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>In MRD, meanwhile, Robins said Adaptive believes its </span><span>ClonoSeq</span><span> assay continues to lead in both clinical testing and in support of pharmaceutical trials for hematologic cancers.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>"While clinical utility has been a barrier to adoption in the past, this is changing quickly, and we see multiple studies reading out to demonstrate the value of MRD testing for patients,"</span><span> he said, highlighting data from the MASTER trial, which Adaptive presented at the recent meeting of the American Society for Hematology.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Analyses of patient outcomes suggested that if an individual with multiple myeloma tests MRD negative with </span><span>Clonoseq</span><span>, they can stop therapy, "giving relief to patients from side effects and at the same time, saving substantial cost to the healthcare system."</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Among key growth drivers expected to help Adaptive maintain a leadership position in the field, Robins highlighted the firm's heavy investment in new data generation. Most immediately, the company plans to expand into non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, where MRD can complement or supplant imaging for disease burden monitoring and early detection of relapse.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>To support these goals, Adaptive is increasing its field force, expecting to have new diagnostic hematology specialists and account managers trained and in the field by the second quarter of this year.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>"We are still at the beginning of the adoption curve," Robins said, "[but] we are well positioned to increase adoption significantly and look forward to a very successful year for our MRD business."  </span></span><br><span> </span><strong><span>Qiagen</span></strong><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>CEO Thierry Bernard reiterated Qiagen's case for being "COVID relevant, but not COVID dependent" over the past two pandemic years.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Qiagen is purportedly more focused since Bernard took over as CEO two years ago, with 88 percent of its recurring revenues now coming from sales of consumables and associated services and 12 percent from capital sales or instrument placement. The business is now evenly split between life sciences and molecular, Bernard said, with an estimated $6 billion addressable market. </span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Although Qiagen did not preannounce earnings, Bernard divulged sales figures for some of its products and businesses, noting that the firm passed the bar of $2 billion in revenues in 2021. Qiagen expects top-line revenues and EPS to be above </span></span><a class="Hyperlink SCXW38259582 BCX2 inline-paragraph-link" href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><u><span>guidance</span></u></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span> given in July, Bernard said. More granularly, Qiagen is poised to meet the $60 million in revenues it guided for in the </span><span>QIAstat</span><span> syndromic molecular testing business, and revenues of $100 million in the </span><span>NeuMoDx</span><span> automated PCR business. </span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>The firm launched more than 10 new diagnostic assays and three new instruments in 2021, and the pandemic allowed it to grow its installed base. "This now needs to be transformed to take and capture new opportunities," Bernard said.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>In the sample preparation business, Qiagen launched an upgraded sample prep instrument in 2021, called the EZ2 Connect, and is now also developing a next generation of its </span><span>QIASymphony</span><span> system, called the </span><span>QIASymphony</span><span> Boost. This evolution is driven in part by the needs of liquid biopsy labs for higher volume inputs, Bernard noted.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>For its </span><span>QIAstat</span><span> syndromic testing business, the firm is "too far behind" BioMérieux's</span><span> </span><span>BioFire</span><span> Diagnostics to outpace that firm's flagship </span><span>FilmArray</span><span> platform, Bernard said, but it is nevertheless gearing up to seize the number two spot.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Bernard outlined new </span><span>QIAstat</span><span> syndromic tests in development for 2022, including a gastrointestinal infections test, a meningitis/encephalitis assay, and a blood culture identification panel. It is also developing syndromic tests for complicated urinary tract infections and pneumonia.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>The next step is a high-throughput version of the system, called the </span><span>QIAstat</span><span>-Dx Rise, which the firm expects to launch as a CE product </span><span>and also</span><span> submit to the US Food and Drug Administration this year. The random-access Rise system processes up to 18 different samples, or 56 tests in an eight-hour shift and 160 tests per day, with automated cartridge loading and unloading.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>And, approximately one year after launching the </span><span>QIAcuity</span><span> digital PCR instrument, Qiagen expects to have placed more than 500 systems. He noted that the firm has captured the wastewater-based epidemiology business of 40 out of 52 US public health labs. It will now also focus on non-invasive prenatal testing and </span></span><a class="Hyperlink SCXW38259582 BCX2 inline-paragraph-link" href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><u><span>combined DNA and protein analysis</span></u></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span> with the system.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>"This product is geared to take the number one position on that market," he said, "We have everything in hand ... if we don't take leadership, it is a matter of execution."</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Going forward to the potential next phase of the pandemic, Qiagen expects to see COVID-related growth as demand shifts from diagnostic testing to surveillance, variant monitoring, wastewater testing, and T-cell monitoring.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>As a mid-cap company, the firm plans to focus its future investment in areas where it can be between the number one and number three position on the market, Bernard said. Future M&amp;A needs to fit with the company's focused strategies, he added, noting as well that "the market is currently a bit overheated from a valuation standpoint."</span></span><span>  </span><br><strong><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Sema</span><span> 4</span></span></strong><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Genetic testing and health intelligence company Sema4 has grown to 1,200 employees, according to CEO Eric Schadt. Through its collaborations with four health systems so far — Mount Sinai, NorthShore University HealthSystem, Advent Health, and Avera — the company has access to de-identified health records from 12 million patients, including more than 500,000 with genomic profiles. It is adding to this with more than 250,000 next-</span><span>gen</span><span> sequencing tests it conducts every year.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Sema4's goal is to use those test results and other patient data to come up with disease models that can inform patient care and clinical trials, reducing costs and improving outcomes in the process. Schadt</span><span> said the company sets itself apart from its competitors in terms of the richness of its data, which spans multiple disease areas rather than just one, and which is collected longitudinally in EHRs.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>As an example of its health system collaborations, he mentioned the genetic wellness and assessment program Sema4 has been conducting with 42,000 patients at NorthShore. Over six months, 6,400 of these patients had a genomic health screening test ordered, and 950 were identified as being at high risk of heritable cancer. As a result, they had a more specific hereditary cancer test ordered. Overall, more than 90 percent of primary care physicians at NorthShore have now ordered a test from Sema4, Schadt</span><span> added.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>In addition to partnerships with health systems, Sema4 is pursuing collaborations with biopharma companies, offering services such as clinical trial matching, software as a service, and real-world patient data analysis. 2022 will be the year "where we will really start showing a more substantial ramp," Schadt</span><span> said.</span></span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>CFO Isaac Ro </span></span><a href="" target="_blank" class="inline-paragraph-link" rel="noopener"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>reiterated</span></span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><a href="" target="_blank" class="inline-paragraph-link" rel="noopener"> </a>the firm's preliminary Q4 revenues of between $50 million and $52 million, up from its earlier guidance of $46.6 million to $49.6 million. The company also expects to have conducted more than 80,000 tests in Q4, excluding COVID-19 tests, compared to its earlier guidance of 73,000 to 79,000 tests. As of Dec. 31, </span><span>Sema4 had about $400 million in cash and cash equivalents, and it has access to a $125 million revolving credit facility, from which it has not drawn yet.</span></span><span> </span><span> </span><br><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>According to Schadt</span><span>, 2022 will be devoted to improving the company's operations, including increasing automation, enhancing robustness, shortening turnaround times, and optimizing its test portfolio. Moreover, the firm will seek to grow its oncology testing business and overall commercial reach, and to increase its pharma partnerships. </span></span><br><a class="link link--button link--button-alternate inline-paragraph-link" href="/subscribe">Subscribe </a><br><a class="link inline-paragraph-link" data-mce-href="/privacy-policy" href="" title="Privacy Policy">Privacy Policy</a>.  <a class="link inline-paragraph-link" data-mce-href="/terms-of-use" href="" title="Terms and conditions">Terms &amp; Conditions</a>. Copyright © 2022 GenomeWeb, a business unit of Crain Communications.  All Rights Reserved.<br><br><a href="">source</a>
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