NEW YORK – Ahead of next week's Advances in Genome Biology and Technology conference, 10x Genomics gave investors a taste of its soon to be expanded product menu.
Between its two platforms — the Chromium system for single-cell analysis and Visium for spatial genomics — the Pleasanton, California-based company has ideas for seven new product types. Some, like a kit to enable simultaneous chromatin accessibility and transcriptome profiling or an internally developed method to make Visium compatible with formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples, appear imminent; others are on the horizon, including plans to enable targeted single-cell RNA sequencing and bringing multiplex oligonucleotide barcoding to Visium.
"Through close partnership with our customers, we have direct insight into their needs and their future questions," CEO and Cofounder Serge Saxonov told investors yesterday on a conference call to discuss 10x's fourth quarter and full-year 2019 financial results. "This information feeds directly into our product development pipeline."
Saxonov said some of the new products were close enough to launch that the company had factored them into 2020 revenue guidance. "These are not, like, far out capabilities," Saxonov said. He and 10x declined to give more specific information until AGBT.
The product pipeline update was "encouraging," Cowen Analyst Doug Schenkel wrote in a research note, adding, "most of the exciting pipeline products that were detailed on the call across Chromium and Visium platforms are expected to launch in the next year."
The preview comes in the wake of 10x's Visium launch late last year, when the company began shipping those kits. "As of the year-end, Visium was already being used by more than 200 labs," Saxonov said. Roughly 20 percent of those customers have been new to 10x, COO Brad Crutchfield said.
But 10x has also taken an item off its menu. In January, it revealed it would phase out its linked-read sequencing assay for long-range genomic information from short-read sequencing.
"The obsolescence of linked reads … products is a business decision that is part of our product life cycle management process," a 10x spokesperson said in an email. "As of June 30, we will no longer be offering the product and customers have been notified." Linked reads were among the kits that 10x has not yet ported to its Next GEM microfluidic chips, following an injunction from a US District Court preventing the company from selling older GEM-based kits to new customers in the US.
The combined chromatin accessibility and transcriptome profiling kits addresses "the single biggest request we have received from our customers," Saxonov said. The kit will combine 10x's assay for transposase-accessible chromatin using sequencing (ATAC-seq) and gene expression profiling kits to enable researchers to link epigenetic programming and gene expression in the same cell.
"Our customers have been intently interested in this capability because it will allow them to start unlocking the rules of cellular programming and with it one of the most fundamental challenges to addressing human health and disease," Saxonov said.
Another goal is making single-cell experiments less expensive and more flexible. To this end, 10x is planning a targeted RNA-seq product that will "allow experiments to be more focused on specific questions, opening up more validation and translational use cases," Saxonov said.
Other Chromium-specific technology in development will allow researchers to combine samples into a single Chromium lane and increase throughput from tens or hundreds of thousands of cells to a million or even 10 million cells. "Over the next two years, we will be launching multiple features, capabilities, and products to enable this type of scale," Saxonov said.
The company also has several products planned to enhance its new Visium platform and differentiate it in the nascent spatial genomics market. "We're now planning to launch a new capability that will allow our customers to measure immunohistochemistry (IHC) and Visium gene expression from the same tissue, from the same sample, at the same time," Saxonov said. He added the capability may help 10x get traction in the traditional pathology lab.
Moreover, 10x has plans to multiplex IHC with barcoding technology. "This technology can be pushed to the point where our customers could be measuring hundreds, potentially even thousands of proteins at the same time together with gene expression on the same sample," he said.
Yet another Visium enhancement that will appeal to pathology and other clinical laboratory researchers is compatibility with FFPE samples. "Our current Visium product was not initially designed to be compatible with FFPE," Saxonov said. "However, given the incredible amount of interest, we have now internally developed the capability for the platform to work with FFPE, and we will be releasing this as a product in the future."
The fully-automated Chromium Connect library preparation system remains on track to launch soon, 10x officials added, and they still expect to migrate all customers to non-infringing Next GEM kits by the end of the year.