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Illumina Accelerator Graduates First Three Companies

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Illumina on Thursday named the first three companies to graduate from the Illumina Accelerator program. 

The firms that have finished the six-month funding cycle are Encoded Genomics, EpiBiome, and Xcell Biosciences. Illumina selected them in October to be the inaugural participants in the Accelerator program, launched in February 2014 to help startups and early-stage firms working on next-generation sequencing applications. Illumina provides participants with a $100,000 seed investment, business guidance, access to the company's technologies, and fully operational lab space for the six-month funding cycle.

Illumina initially partnered with entrepreneur Yuri Milner and Silicon Valley Bank to provide funding and guidance to participants in the program, and earlier this year it said that the program secured $40 million from Viking Global Investors.

Encoded Genomics is using NGS and leveraging the human non-coding genome to develop highly selective molecular therapeutics, Illumina said. Meanwhile, Xcell Bio is combining NGS with proprietary primary cell culture technology to commercialize a high-content liquid biopsy platform. 

Lastly, EpiBiome, a precision microbiome engineering firm, is using NGS to investigate complex microbial communities. Its first product focus is bacteriophage cocktails to treat and prevent mastitis infections in dairy cattle.