Illumina expands genomics accelerator to Cambridge

Company partners with leading European venture capital firms to build genomics startups

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SAN DIEGO—This summer, llumina Inc. announced the global expansion of Illumina Accelerator to Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Founded in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2014, Illumina Accelerator is a company creation engine focused on partnering with entrepreneurs to build breakthrough genomics startups.
Illumina Accelerator notes that this is its first international location and will represent its Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) headquarters for the startup venture. The inaugural funding cycle of Illumina Accelerator Cambridge will begin in Spring 2020.
“With 21 years of experience advancing the field of genomics, Illumina is delighted to foster the next generation of global genomics innovators,” commented Paula Dowdy, Illumina’s senior vice president and general manager of commercial operations for EMEA. “With the launch of Illumina Accelerator Cambridge, we are expertly positioned to further catalyze the rapidly expanding genomics ecosystem across EMEA.”
During two, six-month funding cycles per year, Illumina Accelerator provides selected startups with access to seed investment, access to Illumina sequencing systems and reagents, as well as business guidance, genomics expertise and fully operational lab space adjacent to Illumina’s campuses in Cambridge or the San Francisco Bay Area.
Illumina Accelerator Cambridge is partnering with several leading venture capital firms across Europe—including SV Health Investors, Sofinnova Partners, Seventure Partners, F-Prime Capital and Illumina Ventures—to provide selected startups with hands-on company-building expertise and coaching during the six-month funding cycle in Cambridge.
Said Prof. Sir John Bell, lead for the UK Life Sciences Industrial Strategy, board member of Genomics England and Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University: “I am delighted that Illumina has chosen Cambridge as the first location to expand its Accelerator. Illumina Accelerator Cambridge will undoubtedly contribute to the U.K.’s life-sciences effort by galvanizing genomics startups to harness the rapid and affordable next-generation sequencing technology pioneered by Illumina and develop applications that will benefit human health the world over.”
“In launching Illumina Accelerator Cambridge, we look forward to partnering with leading entrepreneurs and venture investors to harness the unique strengths and genomics expertise in the U.K. and beyond,” said Dr. Mostafa Ronaghi, Illumina’s senior vice president, chief technology officer and co-founder of Illumina Accelerator. “As one of the most successful biotech accelerators, Illumina Accelerator has made 33 investments since its inception, with an unparalleled track record in building venture backable startups—including novel applications in therapeutics, diagnostics, software and consumer genomics.”
Applications for the inaugural funding cycle in Cambridge and for the eleventh funding cycle in the San Francisco Bay Area are due by Nov. 1, 2019. Through a single, global application process, Illumina Accelerator will select up to five companies in each location to participate in two, six-month cycles per year.
Reportedly, Illumina Accelerator is the world’s first business accelerator focused solely on creating an innovation ecosystem for the genomics industry. Since launching in 2014, Illumina Accelerator has invested in 33 genomics startups from across the globe, which have collectively raised over $300 million in venture capital funding.

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