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Illumina: Jan 17, 2003

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Illumina to Open Japanese Subsidiary; European, US Headcounts to Grow

Illumina will open a subsidiary in Japan by mid-January and bolster its sales and services forces in Europe and the US to sell its new integrated genotyping system, the company said.

CEO Jay Flatley said Illumina has already hired a president for the subsidiary, but declined to name the individual until he resigns from his current post at another company. Illumina, which is based in San Diego, will also have four “pretty high-horsepower guys” in Japan by the end of January and six by the end of the year to sell the new system, oligos, and other applications, Flatley said.

In addition, Illumina intends to put seven or eight staffers on the ground in Europe by the end of 2003. Lastly, the six people who currently sell and service the massive genotyping system in the US can expect four new faces by the end of the year.

Flatley said there are between 20 and 30 customers for Illumina’s genotyping platform, which became available at the end of 2002 at a cost of between $1.5 million and $2 million.

The unit, modeled after the BeadArray-based system Illumina now employs in its scientific operations facility, comprises LIMS software and licenses, BeadArray operating software, robots, confocal scanning equipment, and assay protocols for high-throughput operations.

There are two versions of the system — one that churns out a million genotypes a day and one that does 600,000 — which Flatley said will be targeted to “large pharmaceutical companies … and large research centers that are involved in large genotyping projects, like the haplotype map. And there’s many large government-funded projects coming online now to do genotyping on a large scale.”

“We are in late-stage discussions with a number of potential customers,” said Flatley, who promises to announce the first deal sometime over the next three months.

— KL

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