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16 July, 2019 - 07:43 By Kate Sweeney

Illumina launches genomics accelerator in Cambridge

US life science heavyweight Illumina is partnering with leading European VC firms to build game-changing genomics startups from a new Cambridge launchpad.

The move represents an expansion of Illumina’s already established global accelerator model and is just one of a number of initiatives in the Nasdaq business’s strategy to grow its influence from Cambridge UK.

Since launching in 2014 in the San Francisco Bay Area, Illumina Accelerator has invested in 33 genomics startups from across the globe, which have collectively raised over $300 million in venture capital funding.

Illumina Accelerator is a company creation engine focused on partnering with entrepreneurs to build breakthrough genomics startups. The new venture is its first international location and is designed to cover its Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) headquarters in Cambridge UK. The inaugural funding cycle of Illumina Accelerator Cambridge will begin in Spring 2020.

Paula Dowdy, Illumina's senior VP and general manager for commercial operations across EMEA, said: “With 21 years of experience advancing the field of genomics, Illumina is delighted to foster the next generation of global genomics innovators.

“With the launch of Illumina Accelerator Cambridge, we are expertly positioned to further catalyse 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 UK 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.

Professor Sir John Bell, lead for the UK Life Sciences Industrial Strategy, Board Member of Genomics England, said: “I am delighted that Illumina has chosen Cambridge as the first location to expand its Accelerator. Illumina Accelerator Cambridge will undoubtedly contribute to the UK's life sciences effort by galvanising 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.”

Applications for the inaugural funding cycle in Cambridge and for the 11th funding cycle in the San Francisco Bay Area are due by November 1.

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. More details are on the Illumina website – illumina.com

 

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