Illumina Names 3 for Accelerator Funding

Illumina Inc. announced the selection of three startup companies for the inaugural Illumina Accelerator funding cycle. The companies are Encoded Genomics Inc., EpiBiome Inc., and Xcell Biosciences Inc.

The Illumina Accelerator is an accelerator focused solely on creating an innovation ecosystem for the genomics industry. The accelerator will provide selected startups with seed investment, business guidance, access to Illumina’s sequencing systems and reagents, and fully operational lab space in the San Francisco Bay Area during the six-month cycle.

“The initial companies in our accelerator rose to the top of a highly competitive application process based on their potential to deliver innovative genomics apps in areas as diverse as health care and agriculture,” said Mostafa Ronaghi, Illumina’s senior vice president and chief technology officer.

Encoded Genomics, a biopharmaceutical company, is interrogating the human genome for functional elements with therapeutic properties. EpiBiome, an agriculture technology company, is developing bacteriophage compositions to prevent and treat mastitis infections in dairy cattle. Xcell Biosciences, a research tools and diagnostics company, is focused on commercializing its proprietary cell culture solution that enables researchers to easily grow primary cells from patient blood, including cancer and immune cells.

The accelerator is led by Amanda Cashin, who was previously senior vice president of life science at Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc., where she helped lead Alexandria Venture Investments.

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