Biotech company 10x Genomics, which helps analyze the human biological code to understand and improve health, is one of the best-funded enterprises in Silicon Valley at the intersection of biology and technology. Now, it's making its first acquisition, which it hopes will help it stay ahead of the game in one of the newest areas of scientific research.
The company is buying a venture-backed start-up called Epinomics, which is developing technologies for epigenetics research. Epigenetics is a super-hot field, as scientists have learned in recent years that sequencing genes isn't enough to understand human health. Something is turning those genes on and off, and that has massive implications for disease.
"The way I think about it is that the genome is a huge book of letters but epigenetics is what's being read," 10x Genomics CEO Serge Saxonov said in an interview. "We bought Epinomics, as it had developed a new technique to study that."
The company has raised more than $230 million from SoftBank, Venrock and other backers, and generated about $70 million in revenue last year selling its hardware and software tools for sequencing DNA to researchers, labs and pharmaceutical companies. Saxanov, who got his start as a director of R&D at Alphabet-backed 23andMe, said the company is "growing really rapidly," which puts it in a strong position for an initial public offering in the coming years.
The purchase of Epinomics was a "double digit deal," that involved significant cash, the company said, but it declined to share further specifics.
Overall, the genomics market is estimated to be worth about $27 billion by 2025.