Axiom Space announced last week that its second mission to the International Space Station, planned for mid-2022, will include a life science element utilizing technology developed by 10x Genomics. The mission will be led by Peggy Whitson, the space station’s first woman commander who also holds the American record time spent in space. She’s also a trained biochemist.
Pilot John Shoffner will join her as they train in how to effectively use earth-designed single-cell genomic methods in a space environment. Areas of potential study could include osteoporosis, the effect of zero gravity on bone density.
Ben Hindson, 10x co-founder and president, said “We’ve been developing the technology since 2012 so this is a new application and raises some interesting questions. This would be really nice to demonstrate you can do things under extreme conditions and start to understand the changes in the biology of the human body. We have the best tools to look at what subtle changes might occur in the body.”
He said that Whitson, who retired from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration after a 22-year career, visited 10x’s campus and was excited about the possibilities.
Hindson said they’d known Shoffner, an investor in life science companies, since 2009.
Axiom, based in Houston, is planning its first flight early next year. The company is building the first private-sector space station that will provide a platform for research and other activities. The company also will train private citizens to fly into space and seeks to expand the commercial activities in space.
For 10x, it continues to be a busy time. Its new campus is underway with DPR crews tearing down the existing shopping center next to Stoneridge Shopping Center. Hindson said they’d presented the campus to the city Planning Commission recently and were looking forward to doing the same for the City Council.
The company just passed the milestone of 1,000 employees this year (it has 580 at the end of 2019). It moved into its new headquarters on Stoneridge Mall Road in May of 2019 and went public in September. The stock closed at $53 when it went public in September 2019 and closed last Friday at $180. That reflects the amazing acceptance of the company’s tools that are used by the top 20 big pharma companies as well as 100 of the top research institutes.