Amazon has invested hundreds of thousands in Nautilus biotechnology
Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon and then CEO of Amazon Web Services, listens during the Amazon Web Services Summit in San Francisco on April 19, 2017.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Amazon has invested millions in a biotech company that went public in early June after merging with a special purpose vehicle, according to a regulatory filing published last week.
The move fits in with Amazon’s efforts to build a presence in the healthcare sector. The online retailer now operates an online pharmacy following the $ 753 million takeover of the start-up PillPack in 2018.
Amazon announced on June 30 that it had a $ 14.7 million stake in Nautilus Biotechnology. After that story was posted on Thursday, stocks stopped and rose up to 50% after trading resumed.
Nautilus has built a prototype for a device that can measure the human proteome, a series of proteins in the body that, unlike the genome, are constantly changing due to food intake and other factors.
Companies like Thermo Fisher Scientific make mass spectrometers, but these devices can be expensive and only deliver a small percentage of the protein from a drop of blood, said Sujal Patel, co-founder and CEO of Nautilus, in an interview. The company aims to measure more than 95% of the proteome.
Organizations could use the system for drug discovery as well as clinical diagnostics and precision medicine. In 2020, Roche-owned Genentech agreed to use the Nautilus system and the companies plan to publish their research. Nautilus expects its first sales in 2022 and aims for a long-term operating margin of 25-30%. Patel, former co-founder and CEO of data storage hardware company Isilon, which EMC acquired for $ 2.3 billion in 2010, said Nautilus would sell its instruments and offer cloud-based software.
The founders of Nautilus Biotechnology, Parag Mallick and Sujal Patel.
Examining the proteome could help researchers find treatments for people with severe lung damage after contracting Covid-19 and could have helped demonstrate the safety of coronavirus vaccines during the regulatory process, said Parag Mallick, co-founder and Chief of Nautilus Scientists.
The venture capital firm Bezos Expeditions of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos invested in Nautilus alongside Amazon.
“I have no further comments on their motivations in the future,” said Patel, although he added that that could change. Amazon didn’t want to comment on whether it has a relationship with Nautilus beyond the investment.
Amazon’s two other holdings in public companies at the end of the second quarter were both affiliated with companies it does business with. Amazon held 32 million
Nautilus is based in Seattle and employed approximately 70 people when it merged with Arya Sciences Acquisition Corp III in June, Patel said.
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