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Illumina Adds $40M for Genomic Accelerator Start-Ups

Base sequence illustration (Genome.gov)

(Genome.gov)

26 February 2015. Illumina Inc., a developer of genomic analysis systems, is adding $40 million for investments in new enterprises based on genomic science that graduate from its accelerator program. The additional financing is provided by Viking Global Investors, an equity and hedge fund investment company in Greenwich, Connecticut.

The Illumina Accelerator program provides promising start-up companies designing products or services based on genomics with seed financing, lab space at Illumina facilities in San Francisco, access to Illumina sequencing systems, mentoring and business guidance, and non-exclusive rights to Illumina intellectual property. Seed funding consists of $100,000 in convertible notes — debt financing that converts to equity — and an unsecured credit line of $20,000. Teams in early-stage business formation are encouraged to apply, with the next application deadline set for 9 March 2015.

The new $40 million investment fund will support Illumina Accelerator participants after they emerge from the program, and will be provided as matching funds for companies raising between $1 and $5 million on their own. “This capital commitment will be instrumental in driving value for our start-ups as they advance breakthrough applications in genomics,” says Amanda Cashin, who leads Illumina Accelerator in a company statement.

The first group of three start-ups in the Illumina Accelerator was selected in October 2014:

– Biopharmaceutical company Encoded Genomics

– Agricultural therapies company EpiBiome, developing treatments for infections in dairy cattle

Xcell Biosciences, commercializing cell culture solutions for growing primary cells from a patient’s blood

The Illumina Accelerator was first formed in February 2014. Technology investor Yuri Milner provided initial seed financing, with additional funding and banking services from Silicon Valley Bank.

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