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CEO Chad Robins on Expanded Partnership with Microsoft to Decode Covid-19 Immune Response

Headshot of Chad Robins

Chad Robins, Chief Executive Officer & Co-founder

At Adaptive Biotechnologies, we are focused on decoding how the body’s immune system works to inform the development of clinical products to detect and treat disease. Two years ago, we partnered with Microsoft and have been leveraging our immune medicine platform along with their hyperscale machine learning capabilities to map population-wide adaptive immune responses to enable the earlier and accurate detection of many diseases through the identification of disease-specific immune response signatures.

Enter coronavirus.

Leveraging what we know about the immune system, we are privileged to announce today that we are extending our partnership with Microsoft and with the support of other industry leaders, we are now poised to decode the immune response to COVID-19. To accelerate the development of improved detection methods and vaccine discovery, we will make this data freely available to any researcher, public health official, or organization around the world via an open data access portal.

Right now, the vast majority of current R&D efforts are focused on the RNA of the virus itself. We’re attacking this from a different angle. There is critical information held within the genetics of a patient’s immune response to the virus and the disease patterns we can infer from studying the immune response at the population level. Immune response data may help to solve two of the key challenges we are facing in the current diagnostic paradigm: detection of the virus in infected people who are not showing symptoms and improved triaging of newly diagnosed patients. Finding the relevant immune response signature may also advance solutions to treat and prevent the disease.

A pivotal part of this effort will be our own research study to collect de-identified blood samples from individuals diagnosed with or recovered from COVID-19. Industry partners are pitching in with critical services including LabCorp, Illumina, and Providence. Immune cell receptors from these blood samples will be sequenced and mapped to SARS-CoV-2 specific antigens that have been confirmed by our immune medicine platform to induce an immune response. The antigens and mapped immune receptor data will be uploaded to the open data access portal. The accuracy of the immune response signature will be continuously improved and updated online in real time as more blood samples are received and sequenced.

We anticipate that COVID-19 will, like the flu, become part of our lives going forward. Continually generating and providing these data will help advance solutions to diagnose, treat, and prevent the disease in the future.

We invite more collaborators to join us. Other institutions or collaborators interested in contributing blood samples can direct inquiries to Please pass this information along.

As this pandemic sweeps across our communities around the world, it has been inspiring to see how the healthcare, biotechnology and technology communities, among others, have banded together to expedite potential solutions to all aspects of the current situation. In the same way, it has been amazing to see this effort come together in a short period of time – within our team at Adaptive and across our partners’ organizations, people have mobilized and are collaborating in a way that I have never seen before. I have never been prouder to be a part of an industry and a community that can truly make a difference.

We are facing a pandemic that will only be solved with a global effort that includes our best and brightest thinkers, our boldest scientists and researchers, and our biggest humanitarians.

We look forward to collaborating and sharing data with all of you.

Stay safe.

While the information is considered to be true and correct at the date of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of the information. The information may change without notice and Adaptive Biotechnologies is not in any way liable for the accuracy of any information printed and stored or in any way interpreted and used by a user.