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Illumina Accelerator Chooses Initial Three Firms

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Illumina has selected three companies for the inaugural Illumina Accelerator funding cycle, the company said today.

Encoded Genomics, EpiBiome, and Xcell Biosciences will receive seed funding, as well as business advice as result of their selection. Additionally, they will have access to Illumina's sequencing systems and reagents and be provided fully operational laboratory space in the San Francisco Bay area during the six-month cycle.

The Illumina Accelerator is a business accelerator whose goal is to create an ecosystem for the genomics industry, the San Diego-based firm said. Amanda Cashin is leading the effort. She was formerly senior vice president of life sciences at Alexandria Real Estate Equities and helped lead Alexandria Venture Investments. Venture capitalist Yuri Milner and Silicon Valley Bank are partners on the Illumina Accelerator.

Illumina Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Mostafa Ronaghi said in a statement that the initial three firms were chosen based on "their potential to deliver innovative genomics apps in areas as diverse as healthcare and agriculture."

Encoded Genomics is a San Francisco biopharmaceutical firm that is investigating the human genome for functional elements with therapeutic properties. EpiBiome, located in Silicon Valley, is an agricultural technology shop focused on developing bacteriophage compositions to prevent and treat mastitis infections in dairy cattle.

San Francisco-based Xcell Biosciences is a research tools and diagnostics company commercializing a proprietary cell culture solution that allows researchers to grow primary cells from patient blood, including cancer and immune cells.