One of our goals at XSeed is to invest in entrepreneurs who pursue risky, paradigm changing ideas to solve big problems that seem intractable using established approaches. Rapid, cost-effective diagnosis and data-guided treatment of antibiotic resistant diseases is one such problem – causing about 25,000 deaths and over 2 million illnesses a year in the U.S. alone, with new, ever more resistant bacterial strains evolving at alarming rates. (We’ll spare you details here, but, trust us, you should be very scared about this problem.) Existing approaches for rapid detection, typically using DNA analysis, are expensive (and extremely expensive when multiple resistance genes are involved), often inaccurate (e.g., high false positive rates) and don’t provide any guidance to treatment.
With that prelude, we are excited to confirm the acquisition of XSeed portfolio company, GeneWEAVE Biosciences, by the world’s leading pharmaceutical and diagnostic company, Swiss giant, Roche (RHHBY).
GeneWEAVE has developed an extremely innovative technology platform that rapidly identifies multidrug-resistant organisms, and measures antibiotic susceptibility of those organisms to guide treatment, directly from clinical samples without the need for enrichment, culture or sample preparation. GeneWEAVE calls this completely new, paradigm-shifting approach, “Sample-In/Susceptibility Out.” As a global leader in diagnostics, Roche is the perfect partner, with the muscle to effectuate the paradigm shift by bringing this technology to market.
We normally don’t comment on exit deal values – usually because the acquirer wants to keep that information to itself. In this case, Roche has seen fit to publish some of the details. At a total deal value of $425M, this represents one of the top exits ever for a pre-approval, pre-revenue in-vitro diagnostics startup. For us, let’s just say that this is a very big win for XSeed and our LPs.
More significant, it’s a big win for the team responsible – GeneWEAVE’s founders, first-time entrepreneurs Diego Rey and Jason Springs, and the entire GeneWEAVE team, led by CEO Steve Tablak. Today, we at XSeed thank the GeneWEAVE team for its vision, passion, dedication and extraordinary execution. Tomorrow, as Roche rolls out the GeneWEAVE platform, we’ll all thank them as the problem of antibiotic resistance becomes finally more amenable to accurate diagnosis and treatment.