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Illumina invests £30M to fund genomic startups to advance breakthroughs in human health


Investment from cornerstone investor LifeArc, along with other investors such as Illumina, and Illumina Ventures will fund genomics startups for Illumina Accelerator Cambridge graduates

Global leader in DNA sequencing and array-based technologies Illumina Inc has announced its participation in Time Boost Capital I LP’s £30 million genomics venture fund aimed at providing match funding to startups which graduate from Illumina Accelerator Cambridge with the aim to advance breakthroughs in human healthcare.

San Francisco and Cambridge-based Illumina Accelerator is a company that partners with entrepreneurs to create genomics startups and advance innovative applications.

With this move, Illumina joins a select group of European and US investors in the life sciences fund, including cornerstone investor LifeArc.

Since its opening in July 2020, Illumina Accelerator Cambridge has launched 13 startups focused on harnessing genomics applications to improve human healthcare, including diagnostics, novel therapeutics, research tools, synthetic biology and agriculture.

Around 54% of Illumina Accelerator Cambridge startups have been founded by women, according to CrunchBase.

"Time Boost Capital Fund will further propel our Illumina Accelerator Cambridge startups and advance our mission to improve human health by unlocking the power of the genome," said Amanda Cashin, PhD, cofounder and global head of Illumina for Startups. She went on to add, "Cambridge is a leading global hub for life science innovation and entrepreneurship, and this dedicated venture fund will attract the most exceptional entrepreneurs from across the globe."

Time Boost Capital's £30 million capital commitments from select European and US investors include a £10 million commitment from LifeArc, a leading UK independent medical research charity, as well as an investment from Illumina Ventures, an independent fund investing in genomics and precision health.

Time Boost Capital will provide matching funding to every Illumina Accelerator Cambridge graduate that secures funding in the range of £500,000 and £4 million in new capital from qualified investors within 18 months of acceptance.

The fund is advised by Time Partners, a private markets investment adviser focused on long-term investment solutions.

"We are proud to partner with Illumina, a global leader in next-generation sequencing technologies," said Mark Florman, CEO of Time Partners Limited. "Illumina is making a significant commitment to supporting new growth in the field through Illumina Accelerator. As an investment advisor to Time Boost Capital, we have the unique opportunity to back some of the most promising new genomics businesses in the world."

During 2 6-month funding cycles each year, Illumina Accelerator provides selected startups with access to seed investment, business guidance, Illumina sequencing systems and reagents, genomics expertise as well as a fully operational lab space next to its campuses in Cambridge and in the San Francisco Bay Area.

"Illumina Accelerator's track record in building breakthrough genomics startups is unparalleled," said Alex Aravanis, MD, PhD, chief technology officer of Illumina. "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."

Illumina Accelerator Cambridge’s alumni includes Alchemab Therapeutics Ltd. , a therapeutics company which is pioneering the next generation of antibody drugs and which successfully raised £60 million in series A funding upon graduation; Broken String Biosciences Ltd ., a sequencing tools company focused on assessing the stability of the genome, which again secured £3 million in seed funding earlier this year.

Illumina Accelerator is now accepting applications for the next global funding cycle, which are scheduled to close by October 1, 2022. Through a single, global application process, Illumina Accelerator will select up to five companies in each location.

One can learn more about the program and can apply for it here.