Mission Bio announced $10M in Series A funding and the launch of its new platform, Tapestri, today at ASHG 2017. The platform that aims to help realize the promise of personalized medicine, enables the analysis of DNA with single cell resolution.

The bulk of the single cell genomic research activity has been focused on RNA-sequencing, an unbiased approach often looking at the whole transcriptome (e.g., 10X Genomics’ Single Cell 3’ Solution). RNA-Seq makes sense for many single cell applications as -outside of immunology and oncology- cells share the same DNA, and adopt various functions and fate based on differential RNA/gene expression. Mission Bio’s Tapestri is designed for a targeted approach looking at DNA, ideal when key genes or genomics regions of interest have already been identified. We anticipate both targeted RNA and DNA analysis to increase, as a subset of the researchers shift away from unbiased large scale / hypothesis-free discovery, to conduct deeper analyses in gene subsets and genomic regions of interest.

About the Platform

Here are some of the highlights that we gathered from our discussion with the Mission Bio management team:

  • The platform lists at $79,500, with experiments costing $795 per run (~ 8 cts per cell); the MiSeq sequencing cost adds another ~$1,000
  • The platform can analyze ~10,000 cells
  • The first assay, for acute myeloid leukemia (AML), targets 19 genes (40 target amplicons plus 10 control amplicons to measure allele droput)
  • The assay run is currently only Illumina compatible and runs on the MiSeq, using 25M reads aiming for an 40x average depth of coverage when running 10,000 cells
  • Moving to the HiSeq should enable sample multiplexing and addition of genes of interest
  • The protocol adds a day (~24 hrs) to the sequencing workflow, with two 2-hours hands-on-time steps, 4 hours of hands-on-time total
  • The platform includes software for downstream sequence processing and analysis, a key bottleneck in single cell informatics; interpretation and visualization tools are available
  • One of the key strengths of the platform is its ability to identify whether mutations are found in the same cell (vs. found in different cells in the same tumor); this information on cooperative mutations can help determine the likely aggressiveness of the cancer, and how fast it is likely to advance
  • Performing single cell analysis has enable early users to detect mutations that were not identified using high-depth bulk sequencing

Early Tapestri Feedback

Stanford and MD Anderson, both beta testing sites, have been satisfied with the platform. Dr. Koichi Takahashi, a beta tester from MD Anderson, is focused on understanding tumor heterogeneity in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). “The key difference for me is the targeted approach, which is ideal for my research needs. We looked at a select number of genes in AML patient samples at diagnosis, remission, and relapse. It’s early but we are seeing very interesting results.” Tapestri allows researchers to characterize the cooccurrence of mutations from a single cell, which can have important implications for relapse. Understanding which clones drive relapse or are resistant to treatment in an individual is critical to our understanding and ability to deliver on the promise of personalized medicine.

The research group from Stanford is also interested in clonal architecture of AML in patients that undergo bone marrow transplants and are taking a similar longitudinal approach to Dr. Takahashi, assessing clinical samples pre- and post-transplant and at recurrence. The team is also seeing exciting results using the AML panel to track clonal evolution at various stages in patient treatment.

The natural next steps for Mission Bio appear to try to place this instrument in other comprehensive cancer centers (e.g., Moffit, MSKCC). Moving forward, the company intends to offer custom panels that would enable users to expand both the breadth (e.g., indication) and depth (e.g., number of genes, in the 100 range) of applications.

We expect that the launch of this platform and other recent launches (e.g., BD Rhapsody), will help fuel the continued growth in the single cell genomics market, a market that we currently estimate at $330M and growing at 25% p.a. For an in-depth analysis on the SCG market, see DeciBio’s 2017 Single Cell Genomics report, with detailed information on market size, segmentation, growth, competition and trends.

Feel free to reach out to us to exchange ideas and discuss additional insights in the space, or check out our other blog posts on the field:

Competitors Jostle for Share as Fluidigm Signals Deprioritization of Single-Cell Genomics

Illumina, Bio-Rad, and 10X Genomics Look to Take Advantage of the Market that Fluidigm Built

Read the press release from Mission Bio here.


Miguel Edwards, Project Leader

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Stephane Budel, Partner

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Disclaimer: Companies listed above may be DeciBio Consulting clients and/or customers