SAN FRANCISCO—Illumina Inc., along with Warburg Pincus and Sutter Hill Ventures, has established Helix, a new company to aid customers in understanding the information of their genomes. The firm will be based in the San Francisco Bay Area, with Jay Flatley, CEO of Illumina, to serve as chairman of its board of directors.
“Genomics is reaching an inflection point in cost, volumes, and knowledge, creating a significant opportunity to unlock information that is currently not widely accessible to individuals,” said Flatley. “Helix and its founding investors are committed to creating a neutral platform at the highest-quality standard that will work with partners to accelerate consumer adoption of genomics.”
This new company will provide consumers with the tools to interpret their genetic information with the offering of affordable sequencing and database services for consumer samples brought through third-party partners. After sequencing, individuals can manage their data and take advantage of an open marketplace of on-demand applications offered by Helix's partners to unlock additional insights into their sequenced genomes.
Helix is hitting the ground running, having begun two collaborations today. The first of those features the Center for Individualized Medicine at Mayo Clinic collaborating with Helix on the development of applications initially focused on consumer education and health-related queries. In conjunction with the deal, Mayo Clinic has made a strategic investment in Helix. In the second of the two collaborations, Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings (LabCorp) will develop and offer innovative analysis and interpretation services to consumers through Helix's platform, services that will initially focus on medically actionable genetic conditions.
“We are thrilled to partner with Illumina to transform how consumers interact with their own DNA,” Noah Knauf, managing director of Healthcare at Warburg Pincus, said in a press release. “We believe that the digitization of the genome will unleash entrepreneurs and developers to create new applications for consumers in a way never before possible.”
Helix will be establishing one of the world's largest next-generation sequencing labs and a secure, protected database designed in accordance with CLIA, CAP and HIPAA guidelines, to support its efforts and those of its partners. This will enable customers to control how their data is accessed and allow Helix to ensure information is communicated responsibly and ethically. Helix has so far received financing commitments of more than $100 million, and Illumina expects to consolidate the new company in its financial statements. The company is expected to be dilutive to Illumina's non-GAAP earnings per share guidance by approximately 10 cents in 2016.
SOURCE: Illumina Inc. press release