San Diego-based Illumina, Inc. will contribute to a new £30 million ($36 million) venture fund created to help seed the next generation of genomic startups.
Illumina Ventures’ investment in the Time Boost Capital I LP Fund, which is managed by U.K.-based Time Partners, will benefit startups coming out of Illumina Accelerator Cambridge.
Illumina Accelerator, the world’s first business accelerator focused solely on creating an innovative ecosystem for the genomics industry, is actually co-located with Illumina’s R&D facilities in the Bay Area and Cambridge, England.
“We are proud to partner with Illumina, a global leader in next-generation sequencing technologies,” said Mark Florman, CEO of Time Partners. “Illumina is making a significant commitment to supporting new growth in the field through Illumina Accelerator.”
Illumina Ventures is an independently managed, health-care-focused venture firm that has a strategic partnership with Illumina. With a focus on life science tools, therapeutics, diagnostics and personal wellness, Illumina Ventures bills itself as “an early-stage, value-add investor” supporting entrepreneurs in “developing breakthrough science and technologies into market-leading companies transforming healthcare.”
Illumina for Startups, which runs Illumina Accelerator, partners with leading venture capital investors and entrepreneurs to create, launch and grow the next generation of companies like Illumina.
Since its inception in 2014, Illumina Accelerator has invested in 68 genomics startups across the globe, which have collectively raised over $1 billion in venture capital funding.
Illumina Accelerator Cambridge debuted in July 2020 and to date has launched 13 startups focused on harnessing genomics applications to improve human health, including novel therapeutics, diagnostics, synthetic biology, research tools and agriculture.
Company officials said that approximately 54% of the Cambridge startups were founded by women. Alumni include Alchemab Therapeutics Ltd., a therapeutics company pioneering the next generation of antibody drugs and Broken String Biosciences Ltd., a sequencing tools company focused on assessing the stability of the genome.
Amanda Cashin, PhD, co-founder and global head of Illumina for Startups, said Cambridge is a hotbed of life science innovation and entrepreneurship right now. “This dedicated venture fund (Time Boost) will attract the most exceptional entrepreneurs from across the globe,” she added.
Time Boost’s $36 million in capital commitments include $11 million from LifeArc, a leading London-based independent medical research nonprofit.
During two, 6-month funding cycles each year, Illumina Accelerator provides selected startups with access to seed investment, Illumina sequencing systems and reagents, business guidance, genomics expertise – and fully operational lab space adjacent to Illumina’s campuses in Cambridge and Foster City.
Unparalleled Track Record
“Illumina Accelerator’s track record in building breakthrough genomics startups is unparalleled,” said Illumina’s Chief Technology Officer Alex Aravanis, MD, PhD.
“The partnership with Time Partners to provide match funding to our graduates of Illumina Accelerator Cambridge will further advance innovative genomic discoveries that will benefit people around the world,” Aravanis added.
Illumina Accelerator is currently accepting applications for its next global funding cycle, which are due by October 1, 2022.
Through a single, global application process, Illumina Accelerator will select up to five companies in each location.
CEO: Francis deSouza
REVENUE: $4.5 billion (2021)
STOCK: ILMN (NASDAQ)
BUSINESS: DNA sequencers and assays
HEADQUARTERS: San Diego
SOCIAL IMPACT: Company is fueling groundbreaking advancements in life science research, translational and consumer genomics and molecular diagnostics.
NOTABLE: Illumina is the world’s leading genomic sequencing company.