Illumina launched its Accelerator Program in February to serve as a technology incubator for startup and early-stage companies working on scientifically and commercially promising next-generation sequencing applications. Teams chosen for the Accelerator Program will receive $100,000 from Illumina in the form of reagents, access to sequencers, and 20% of a technician's time, with six months' laboratory space in San Francisco's Mission Bay. Teams will also have access to $100,000 in convertible notes from technology investor Yuri Milner and a $20,000 line of credit from Silicon Valley Bank. For the San Diego company, this scheme provides an opportunity to support entrepreneurs in genomics and contribute toward making genomics more mainstream, an Illumina representative said. Jon Groberg of Macquarie Securities in New York thinks that Illumina's strategy is twofold: first to become the platform of choice for small companies and, second, to have first pick of promising applications. The Accelerator Program provides Illumina with an early insight into the future direction of sequencing, he says. The company has already acquired companies in the applications market: BlueGnome of Cambridge, UK, for cancer and infertility screening, and Verinata of Redwood City, California, for prenatal testing.
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Proffitt, A. Illumina incubates innovators. Nat Biotechnol 32, 405 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1038/nbt0514-405b