The potential of GigaGen’s single cell sequencing and expression platform to revolutionize immunotherapy drug development and target discovery was highlighted in the recent Genome Web story Expanding Single-Cell Technology, GigaGen Moves Forward in Drug Development Market.
According to the article:
“Single-cell analysis firm GigaGen has made a sharp turn in its business plans over the last several years from early intentions in the genomic diagnostics instrument space to now seeking to establish itself in drug development and target discovery.
The company’s CEO and Co-founder, David Johnson, spoke with GenomeWeb last week about the firm’s turnabout in focus and the progress it has made over the past several years in adapting its platform to support collaborations with large pharmaceutical companies, as well as its own internal target discovery and drug development efforts based on immune repertoire sequencing enabled by its droplet-based single cell microfluidic technology.
Early in its inception, Johnson said, GigaGen was aiming to advance its platform as a tool for sequencing immune cells to monitor and diagnose disease. But, he said, the company realized that ‘even though we had some interesting clinical directions for that, it just wasn’t going to be worth developing in that way … It’s too hard to get diagnostics paid for,’ he said.
Shifting focus, the firm began to develop primer sets built around applications that customers or partners would pay for, he said, zeroing in on the use of immune repertoire sequencing — an analysis of the genomic diversity of T- and B-cells in a patient’s overall immune system — as a tool for discovery of novel drug compounds that act on known targets, or for uncovering new targets to support the development of whole new classes of molecularly targeted therapies. An important step for the company in this shift, Johnson said, was the expansion of its platform from a focus on single-cell sequencing, to a system that now takes the genomic data from that immune repertoire sequencing and uses it to create a synthetic system of matched protein expression.”