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Startup 1Cellbio Inks Single-Cell Sequencing Collaboration With UCB

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Single-cell sequencing technology firm 1Cellbio has agreed to provide Belgian pharmaceutical company UCB with inDrop single-cell sequencing technology, consumables, and training for use in immune cell profiling.

InDrop, short for indexing droplets, was developed in Harvard University Professor Allon Klein's lab in 2015. It starts by encapsulating cells into droplets and combining them with barcoded oligo primers, followed by lysis and reverse transcription of the mRNA. After breaking the droplets, the cDNA libraries are sequenced. Instead of beads, the technology uses a library of barcoded hydrogel microspheres (BHMs). Each BHM carries covalently coupled, photo-cleavable primers with a barcode. A total of about 150,000 barcodes are available, allowing for random labeling of about 3,000 cells.

1Cellbio CEO Colin Brenan said in a statement that the deal was a good endorsement of his company, which was spun out of Harvard in May 2016 to commercialize inDrop. The university has licensed the technology to the firm, which has started its commercialization efforts, having completed an early-access program.

In 2016, Harvard also launched a single-cell core facility specializing in inDrop single-cell RNA sequencing.

"We're helping [UCB] find where single cell tech can be applied, in the context of clinical research," Brenan added.

Financial and other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.