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Illumina Invests in Four Startups Through Accelerator Program

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Illumina said today that it has invested in four startup companies through its accelerator program. The companies focus on synthetic biology, reproductive health, the skin microbiome, and nutrition.

The startups — MetaMixis, NextGen Jane, Skinomics, and Vitagene — will each receive a seed investment, a subscription to Illumina's NextBio translational genomics database, access to match funding through the $40 million Illumina Accelerator Boost Capital, sequencing systems and reagents, and Illumina's Genologics Clarity LIMS software. The companies will also gain access to lab space in the San Francisco Bay area during the six-month funding cycle.

"We're here to provide access to our best-in-class sequencers, a support team of genomics professionals and entrepreneurial coaches, and the tools each of these startups need to advance breakthrough applications in genomics," Mostafa Ronaghi, Illumina senior vice president, chief technology officer, and cofounder of Illumina Accelerator, said in a statement.

MetaMixis is a synthetic biology spinout of the University of British Columbia that specializes in enzyme discovery and pathways to produce bio-based materials and chemicals.

NextGen Jane is based on technology developed at Harvard University and plans to use genomics to provide predictive reproductive health information to women.

Skinomics is a skin microbiome company launched by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles that plans to use skin microbiome and genomics information to develop advances in skin care, focusing first on acne.

Vitagene plans to use genomics to develop customized health products.

This is the third round of startups that Illumina has funded through its accelerator program. It announced its previous round in August.

Separately today, Illumina said it has also invested in genome editing software maker Desktop Genetics for an undisclosed amount. Desktop Genetics seeks to automate the genome editing process.