NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Seattle-based cancer immunotherapy company Juno Therapeutics has acquired AbVitro of Boston for approximately $78 million in cash and almost 1.3 million shares of its stock, the company said today.
In addition, Juno and Celgene have agreed in principle on a deal under which Celgene will license a subset of AbVitro's technology and have options to certain potential products deriving from it.
AbVitro, which has been mainly funded by Austin, Texas-based Santé Ventures, has developed a single-cell sequencing approach for identifying cancer-specific immune cells. The platform, based on technology developed by George Church at Harvard Medical School, enables researchers to identify full-length natively paired antibodies and T cell receptors across millions of single cells in parallel, using cancer patient samples.
The technology will help Juno develop engineered T cells to target cancer cells, to better understand immune responses to cancer, and to monitor the immune system of cancer patients during treatment.
Juno plans to relocate AbVitro scientists to Seattle and to incorporate the firm's platform into its therapeutic discovery process.
"We remain highly encouraged by the potential of our engineered T cell technology to impact the lives of cancer patients, and this technology improves our capabilities to extend our platform to a broader array of cancer types including solid tumors," said Juno Chief Scientific Officer Hy Levitsky in a statement.
In 2014, Roche exclusively acquired next-gen sequencing sample prep technology called primer extension target enrichment from AbVitro, and said that it planned to include it in NGS workflow solutions for clinical sequencing.