From a $1 million start up making microarrays to occupying an 80% market share of the sequencing world, Jay Flatley has overseen the astonishing growth of everyone’s favourite neighbourhood sequencing company, Illumina. No self-respecting presentation on the costs of sequencing is complete without a graph showing ‘Flatley’s Law‘, the plummeting cost of sequencing a genome that far outstrips the rate predicted by Moore’s Law.

Under his leadership the company has made a significant assault on the $1000 genome, and spawned several new enterprises including direct-to-consumer sequencing venture Helix, and the ambitiously named cancer diagnostics company Grail. Now in recognition of his role in leading the company from obscurity to market dominance, Illumina have named dedicated their research and development centre as the Jay T. Flatley Innovation Center.

“Jay is a large part of the Illumina story,” said Karen Possemato, Chief of Staff at Illumina. “His ambitious vision and passion for innovation has led the creation of world-class sequencing instruments and tools that are fueling discoveries with the ultimate goal to improve health for all.”

Flatley announced he would be passing the keys to the kingdom on to Francis deSouza in May this year, with the appointment taking effect from July 5.

“Jay’s vision and leadership have made Illumina a commercial success, a jewel in San Diego’s innovation economy, and the leading provider of technologies for genomic analysis around the world,” Francis deSouza said at a dedication ceremony on June 20.

More on these topics