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Illumina Accelerator Invests in Seven Additional Genomics Startups

NEW YORK – Illumina has invested in seven more genomics startups in the fourth global funding cycle of the Illumina Accelerator programs in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Cambridge, UK, the company said on Wednesday.

Most of the companies — which receive an undisclosed amount of seed funding, access to Illumina sequencing systems and reagents, lab space adjacent to Illumina's Bay Area and Cambridge campuses, and access to business guidance and genomics expertise — are in the therapeutics space, but several have taken a diagnostics or synthetic biology angle.

4SR Biosciences, a University of Chicago spinout, is using proprietary technology to explore new transfer RNA (tRNA)-based modalities for disease biomarkers and cancer therapeutics.

Atlanta-based B4X is using multiomic data — including spatial biology data — to create a new model of the human brain. It plans to use this model to develop diagnostics and therapeutics for brain diseases.

Cache DNA, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology spinout, is working on nucleic acid storage and access, with an eye toward DNA-based data storage. On Monday, the firm announced a $256,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Science Foundation.

NonExomics is developing a platform to mine novel drug targets from uncharacterized regions of the genome where RNA and proteins are made outside of currently defined genes. The company has ties to both the UK and Massachusetts.

Crisp-Hr Therapeutics has developed a CRISPR-based platform to create new therapeutics for rare diseases.

Rethink Bio, a synthetic biology company from India, is evaluating microalgae as a potential sustainable food source.

Purpose Health is looking into the physiological impact of stress on the microbiome and the human body.

The new class of firms brings the number of startups in the Illumina Accelerator portfolio to 68. Illumina Accelerator provides its chosen firms with an undisclosed amount of seed funding.

"These seven new investments demonstrate the power of genomics to advance breakthrough discoveries across therapeutics, diagnostics, sustainable foods, and direct-to-consumer applications to transform human health," Illumina CTO Alex Aravanis said in a statement.