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How 10x Genomics Is Turbocharging Genetic Research

By Keith Speights - Apr 6, 2021 at 6:04AM

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The company's technology is enabling researchers to explore single cells like never before.

10x Genomics (TXG 12.08%) has achieved tremendous success over the last few years. Its technology is used by most of the top research laboratories across the world and by many leading biopharmaceutical companies. In this video recorded on March 11, 2021, Motley Fool CEO and co-founder Tom Gardner talks with 10x Genomics CEO and co-founder Serge Saxonov about how his company's platforms are turbocharging genomics research.

Tom Gardner: Maybe you could share with us a little bit about the significance or the miracle of getting down to the single-cell level. Then connect that to how Chromium and Visium tools work in the model that 10x uses to approach this.

Serge Saxonov: Right. The individual cell is the fundamental unit of biology. This is something that we had -- the world of biology -- understood to some extent but didn't appreciate fully how all these cells are actually doing different things.

Again, I mentioned those 40 trillion cells in the human body, they're all different characters in this really complex play. With our tools, what you've been able to do for the last several years, for the first time really, is be able to take individual cells -- thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, even millions -- and see the individual genetic programming of every cell, what is actually going on in a single experiment, at very large scale. This is something that did not exist before.

Now that people have been able to do those, they've discovered that, yes, these cells, there's all kinds of new cell types that exist, that we didn't know existed. What is happening in those cells correlates with diseases in a very concrete way.

It also points very quickly, once you actually have this picture, you're able to see them. It allows you to make decisions about how to develop therapies to treat diseases. As you mentioned, we have multiple platforms now.

We have this Chromium single-cell platform. If you take a solution of cells, like from blood where individual cells exists there, that system separates them all individually and then analyzes each cell one at a time but in parallel. You can measure many different kinds of things. In biology, there's these molecules called RNA, which is well known now, there's also proteins, there's DNA. So Chromium allows you to measure all these different molecules in individual cells at scale.

Visium is a different platform. What it does is it allows you to take not blood but a slice of tissue. If you take a biopsy, for example, from cancer or if you're working with mice, for example, for doing basic biological research, you take a sample. It could be skin, again, it could be cancer, or it could be a slice of liver or some other tissue, and you put it on the Visium platform to measure the different molecules and where they are with respect to each other in tissue. You're able to see how the different cells are interacting with each other in the tissue.

Again, very fundamental biological questions that end up getting answered.

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