The venture capital firm founded by San Diego’s DNA instrument giant Illumina Inc. has raised a $230 million fund to fuel genomics startups.
The VC firm, called Illumina Ventures, was founded last year with a $100 million investment from Illumina, the largest maker of DNA sequencing machines in the world. The new cash will be invested in startups focused on genomics and precision medicine, the company said.
The venture fund has already made seven investments since its 2016 launch, including one in a San Diego startup called Biota Technology. Biota has developed software that helps oil companies coax more oil from wells using DNA technology as a guide. It’s startups like Biota, which find novel applications for DNA technology, that Illumina Ventures wants to fund. After all, the more industries that find uses for DNA technology, the more sequencers Illumina will sell.
"The rapid advances in genomics are creating tremendous entrepreneurial opportunities across industries from novel therapeutics, diagnostics and research tools to food security and synthetic biology," said Francis deSouza, president and chief executive officer of Illumina.
Illumina Ventures is headquartered in San Francisco, where Illumina has a second campus, and runs independently.
The new fund includes money from a mix of sources, including corporate cash, institutional, sovereign, and individual investors, according to Illumina.