A Hubble Telescope for the immune system: Seattle’s Adaptive TCR raises $5.8M

The Adaptive TCR team

Adaptive TCR, a Seattle company that’s attempting to profile and measure the body’s immune system, has raised $5.8 million in new financing. Spun out of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the company was founded by Harlan Robins, Christopher Carlson and Chad Robins.

The team has big plans, with Chad Robins saying the technology is like using a Hubble Telescope to explore the immune system rather than a pair of binoculars. In a promotional video, Robins also notes that Adaptive TCR could be as essential as routers for the Internet or pick axes for the gold rush.

Carlson added that the scale of the data is tremendous, allowing the company to see tens of millions of T cell receptor sequences.

“Fundamentally, it is a new method that we can use to do basic research, to ask questions of the immune system, where people, like I said, have been assuming how the immune system works as opposed to actually looking at how it works,” said Carlson in a promotional video about the company.

According to a SEC filing, the company has the ability to raise up to $7.5 million in this round.

Luke Timmerman at Xconomy has more on the 14-person company, noting that over 50 academic and research organizations are utilizing the technology and customers are signing up at a rate of about one per day. The company’s board includes Salesforce.com Chief Technology Officer Craig Weissman and Northwestern University marketing professor Andris Zoltners.

Here’s a closer look at what the company is doing:


John Cook is co-founder of GeekWire. Follow on Twitter: @geekwirenews and Facebook.