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HomeTechnologyLife sciences news roundup: Adaptive layoffs; Seattle Children’s biotech partnership; and more

Life sciences news roundup: Adaptive layoffs; Seattle Children’s biotech partnership; and more

Adaptive’s HQ in Seattle. (GeekWire Photo)

As a bear market takes a bite out of biotech stock values that had soared during the pandemic, some companies are retrenching.

Adaptive Biotechnologies had recently doubled its headcount as it turned to COVID-19 projects, but on Wednesday the Seattle company laid off 12% of its workforce, about 100 employees. The public company is reorganizing to focus on two key areas: immune medicine and “minimal residual disease” cancer detection. Adaptive also hired a new CFO, Tycho Peterson.

“Given current market conditions affecting Adaptive and the biotech industry more broadly, we needed to ensure we had enough flexibility to meet our medium- to long-terms goals,” a spokesperson told GeekWire.

We’ve rounded up other recent life sciences and health tech news in the Pacific Northwest below:

Joyce Yen, head of the UW ADVANCE program. (UW Photo)
  • Alpine Immune Sciences’ clinical trial for its immune modulator davoceticept, combined with the immune checkpoint drug Keytruda, was put on a partial hold while investigators assess a patient death in the study.   
  • Washington state partners with Seattle-based startup 2morrow to offer its smoking cessation app for free to state residents. A recent study showed the app is being used by a broad range of demographic groups — meanwhile, a measure to ban flavored vape products popular with kids died in the state legislature for the second year in a row.
  • Evergreen Bioscience, an organization working to make Washington state and the Intermountain Northwest a magnet for contract research and manufacturing was awarded $500,000 by Washington state’s Department of Commerce.
  • A new study from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation tallied the overwhelming burden of the pandemic, concluding that 18.2 million people died worldwide from COVID-19 between the start of the pandemic and the end of last year, compared to the 5.94 million deaths officially reported.
  • Here’s a nice profile of a Portland biotech startup, Sparrow Pharmaceuticals, which is testing therapies to soften the effects of excess steroid levels, in phase 2 clinical trials.
  • University of Washington researchers have developed a device to detect the acidity of dental plaque using optical measurements. The readout may tell what area of the tooth is most at risk of developing a cavity, according to a new study.

Editor’s note: Charlotte Schubert previously worked as a science editor and writer at Seattle Children’s Therapeutics.

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