PCR-based assays are designed to measure antigen receptor sequences of WBCs.
Sequenta will pocket $13 million in funding in a Series B round. Funds will be used to continue development of molecular diagnostic and prognostic tools based on the firm’s sequencing approach to profiling T- and B-cell receptor repertoires.
“The profound revolution in DNA sequencing technologies has enabled fundamentally new measurements of the most variable region of the human genome: the genes that target foreign antigens in the body as part of the adaptive immune system,” comments Tom Willis, Sequenta CEO.
“Unlike your inherited DNA sequence, these sequences are constantly changing as your immune system adapts to the environment. Sequenta has developed an assay that is capable of measuring the antigen receptor sequences of the millions of white blood cells that are found in circulation using a scalable high-throughput assay.”
The firm’s PCR assays enable amplification and sequencing of recombined lymphocyte DNA from blood and tissue. Sequences can be used with a custom suite of bioinformatic processes to reconstruct full DNA and protein sequences from T and B cells for the TCRβ and IgH loci, respectively.
The assays allow all of the several million lymphocytes found in up to 10 mL of blood to be measured and quantitated, Sequenta says. Data generated using replicate samples shows that the assay is able to measure quantitative changes at the level of 1 cell in 100,000, it adds.
Sequenta, founded in 2008, is a privately held company based in San Francisco. It was created by Tom Willis and Malek Faham, who previously founded ParAllele BioScience, a genomic technology company acquired by Affymetrix in 2005.