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Adaptive Biotech revenue up 25%; company launches T-cell tes…

A timeline showing the longer time frame after infection and recovery for detecting COVID-19 using T-cells vs. tests for antibodies and antigens. (Adaptive Biotech Graphic)

Seattle-based Adaptive Biotechnologies, which develops technology to sequence the human immune system to diagnose and treat disease, posted revenue of $30.2 million for the fourth quarter, up 25% from a year ago.

The company’s quarterly net loss more than doubled to $44.6 million due higher costs in the areas of sales and marketing, and research and development.

T-Detect COVID launch: On the company’s earnings conference call, Adaptive CEO Chad Robins called the launch this week of the T-Detect COVID test a “pivotal moment” in the company’s plans to release diagnostic tests for a variety of diseases. The initial test detects recent or past COVID-19 cases by looking for the unique signature associated with COVID-19 in T cells, which determine the human immune system’s response to the disease.

Why it matters: Adaptive’s T-cell test for COVID-19, developed in partnership with Microsoft, is an alternative to antibody testing, currently the most common way of determining if someone had a past COVID-19 case.

  • Adaptive says T-cell responses can be detected earlier and longer than antibody responses, and with a higher degree of accuracy in detecting a prior infection of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing the T-Detect COVID test for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). It’s currently available under Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments federal regulations.
  • The T-Detect COVID test costs $150 in addition to blood draw fees of $60 at a lab or $140 for a home visit.

What’s next: Adaptive is working on future versions of T-Detect to detect multiple diseases from a single blood test, including acute Lyme and celiac disease.

Adaptive Biotech’s quarterly and annual revenue breakdown. (Adaptive Graphic)

Fourth-quarter financial results

  • Adaptive’s sequencing revenue fell 8% to $12.7 million for the quarter, as COVID-19 impacted the use of its platform by labs and research facilities.
  • Its development revenue, which includes a deal with Genentech to develop personalized cancer therapies, rose 69% to $17.5 million for the quarter.
  • The company ended the quarter with $807 million in cash and equivalents, up from $682 million a year ago, due in part to a follow-on stock offering.

Full-year 2020 results: Revenue for 2020 rose 16% to $98.4 million, and net loss grew to $146.2 million from $68.6 million a year earlier.

Employees: Adaptive had 622 employees as of Dec. 31, up from 453 a year earlier, according to its annual 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company is constructing a new headquarters in Seattle, with plans to move into the building in the second half of this year. “This approximately 100,000 square foot facility is designed to enable us to quadruple our volume over time and allow for continued scaling and growth,” the 10-K says.

Stock: Adaptive’s shares closed at $58.39 on Wednesday, up 94% over the past year. The stock fell 2% in after-hours trading following the earnings release, after the company projected revenue of $145 million to $155 million for the current year, vs. analyst expectations of $159 million.

Background: Adaptive spun out of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, founded in 2009 by brothers Chad and Harlan Robins, its chief scientific officer. The company’s IPO was in June 2019.

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