Illumina announce their three picks for inaugural Illumina Accelerator funding cycle.

Illumina’s commitment to speeding up the genomic revolution continues. As a company that has shown there are shrewd investments to be made in genomics, they have decided to gamble on three start-ups that they hope will push the field forward and deliver a nice return on their own investment.

The three start-ups are:

Encoded Genomics, a biopharmaceutical company, is interrogating the human genome for functional elements with therapeutic properties.

EpiBiome, an agriculture technology company, is developing bacteriophage compositions to prevent and treat mastitis infections in dairy cattle.

Xcell Biosciences, a research tools and diagnostics company, is focused on commercialising its proprietary cell culture solution that enables researchers to easily grow primary cells from patient blood, including cancer and immune cells.

In return for a 10% equity stake in each company, Illumina offers both business and scientific guidance, as well as use of office/lab space and access to Illumina products. As Illumina prepare to welcome applications for the 2015 cycle, a look at this year’s award winners shows a clear strategy.

The three companies offer an interesting spread of options. Illumina have picked wisely and reduced the risk of their investment by spreading it across three distinct areas. Apart from de-risking investment, there is also a very real upshot here. By helping these 3 start-ups find success, it helps Illumina expand their own market without committing more of their own resources.

The cost of sequencing has gone down dramatically, but applicable genomics is still prohibitively costly in some cases. Helping start-ups, who can help make genomics viable for new users, is a great move. It makes obvious business sense, but may also help inspire more people to pursue their ideas and might even unearth the next disruptive technology.

 

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