10x Genomics has unveiled the next generation of its single-cell technology architecture that will power new assays of its Chromium platform at the Advances in Genome Biology and Technology (AGBT) General Meeting in Orlando, FL.

The company has begun accepting preorders for its Chromium GEM-X Single Cell Gene Expression v4 and its GEM-X Single Cell Immune Profiling v3 assays, the first two products to use 10’s new GEM-X technology architecture.

10x Genomics co-founder and CEO Serge Saxonov, PhD

“What they do is they enable customers to more easily, more routinely go through their experiments and generate results, which makes for better results, faster generation of data, and ultimately better science and greater customer success,” 10x co-founder and CEO Serge Saxonov, PhD, told GEN Edge. “Microfluidics has been with us since the beginning of 10x, but we have now, especially the last several years, pushed some of those capabilities to a new level.”

Both assays are expected to begin shipping this quarter, he added.

10x says both products—which apply a new and improved microfluidic chip design—will offer users cost-effective single-cell profiling at a larger scale and lower cost than earlier products with sensitivity and robustness not matched by earlier instruments or competing products.

Chromium GEM-X Single Cell Gene Expression v4 promises scalable whole transcriptome 3’ profiling at the single-cell level for hundreds to tens of thousands of cells per sample. The gene expression assay also adds feature barcode technology designed to enable the combination of gene expression profiling and cell surface protein detection with tens to hundreds of antibodies, 10x says.

GEM-X Single Cell Immune Profiling v3 is intended to allow users to fully characterize adaptive immune response with multiomic profiling, including immune receptor mapping, to give a comprehensive view of the immune system that includes increased cell recovery, up to 80% cell capture efficiency, and more effective pairing of full-length T- and B-cell receptor sequences.

That comprehensive view, according to 10x, delivers innate and adaptive immune cell diversity with detection of rare cell types, biomarkers, and low-RNA content cells like neutrophils. The immune profiling system is also designed to let users detect the whole transcriptome, along with cell surface proteins.

Improving performance

Saxonov said GEM-X will deliver performance improvements that include:

  • Sensitivity: GEM-X-powered Chromium assays can detect up to twice as many genes compared to existing Chromium assays, giving users a more comprehensive view of cellular heterogeneity.
  • Scale: A two-fold increase in cells captured per channel.
  • Cost: A more than two-fold reduction in cost per cell.
  • Data quality: Two-fold reduction in “multiplet rate” or fraction of cell-associated barcodes estimated to be associated with more than one cell, enabling high quality data at scale.
  • Sample recovery: Recovery of up to 80% of cells, improving capture efficiency and making it ideal for samples typically yielding few cells, such as tissue biopsies or previously flow sorted cells.
  • Assay robustness: Redesigned microfluidics and optimized reagents intended to offer faster and more efficient cell partitioning.

Chromium is 10x’s oldest of its three current platforms, accounting for more than three-fourths (about 76%) of 10x’s approximately $618.7 million in preliminary, unaudited total revenue last year, up 20% from 2022. The company is set to release full results for the fourth quarter and all of 2023 on February 15.

In an interview last month during the 42nd Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, Saxonov said 10x had no plans for launching a fourth platform in 2024—but will bring to market several new features for its Xenium In Situ single-cell spatial imaging platform and a new-and-improved HD version of its Visium Spatial Gene Expression platform.

The unveiling of GEM-X was 10x’s first product announcement since rival NanoString Technologies filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Sunday evening.

NanoString said it was compelled to seek protection from creditors due to the $31 million jury award assessed against it last November in a patent infringement case filed by 10x.

“While we are confident in our legal defenses and counterclaims, and have strong grounds for our appeals, the cost of the litigation and 10x’s current demands for extraordinary damage awards have placed a significant strain on the company’s financial resources,” CEO Brad Gray wrote in a letter posted on the company’s website.

Exploring strategic alternatives

NanoString has begun a restructuring process, during which it will explore strategic alternatives that include a possible sale of all or part of its business to “partners who share our values of helping the scientific community advance their science,” Gray wrote.

Saxonov declined to comment on the NanoString filing and potential impact on 10x. Speaking on GEN’s “Close to the Edge” interview series, Saxonov previously defended 10x’s series of patent lawsuits against competitors as necessary to protect the company’s investment in innovation and new product development.

In an interview with GEN at AGBT days later, Joe Beechem, PhD, CSO and senior vice president of research and development added that NanoString has raised $47.5 million in financing to continue operations since filing for Chapter 11 and starting its restructuring.

“The next time you see us on the other side of that process, we will be a different type of company, even stronger than we are today,” Beechem said. “We believe in our technology. We invented this technology. We are going to continue to defend it. And the financial backing will allow us to fight the fight.”

NanoString’s filing touched off a selloff among investors, who sent shares cratering 79% on Monday, from 47 cents to 10 cents. Since then, shares have shriveled further, to nine cents on Tuesday and five cents on Wednesday.

10x shares dipped 1% Monday, from $43.60 to $43.03, before climbing 7% over the following two days, to $46.05 on Wednesday. Among investors buying shares were two electronic transfer funds (ETFs) of ARK Investment Management (ARK Invest), whose chief investment officer and portfolio manager is Catherine D. (Cathie) Wood.

ARK Genomic Revolution ETF (ARKG) increased its holdings of 10x shares by 2% since the NanoString Chapter 11 filing, from 1.355 million to 1.387 million shares as of Wednesday. ARK Innovation ETF (ARKK) also raised its 10 share holdings by 2%, from 3.344 million to 3.421 million shares.

ARKG is an electronic transfer fund concentrating on healthcare and other sectors “expected to substantially benefit from extending and enhancing the quality of human and other life.” ARKK companies include those that “rely on or benefit from the development of new products or services, technological improvements and advancements in scientific research” relating to areas that include DNA technologies and the “genomic revolution.”

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