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Illumina Launches Accelerator Program for Startups Working on NGS

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Illumina today said that it has launched a business accelerator program intended to help startups and early-stage companies working on next-generation sequencing applications.

The firm has partnered with technology investor Yuri Milner, who has invested in Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, and 23andMe, among other tech startups, and Silicon Valley Bank to provide funding and guidance for program participants.

The accelerator will offer a six-month program that will provide invited participants with $100,000 in support, including access to Illumina's sequencing systems and reagents and fully operational lab space near Illumina's planned R&D facilities in San Francisco's Mission Bay. Program participants also will gain access to Illumina's global customer and venture networks, and assistance with financial modeling, forecasting, and legal and human resources.

Milner will also provide each participating company with $100,000 in exchange for convertible notes, while Silicon Valley Bank will provide banking services and credit.

The program will select up to three companies to participate in each six-month session per year. Illumina said applications are due May 16, 2014 for the inaugural session, which begins on Aug. 1, 2014.

"The dramatic reduction in the cost of sequencing has enabled the scientific and business communities to address an increasingly broad range of research and clinical opportunities" Mostafa Ronaghi, Illumina SVP and chief technology officer, said in a statement. "We've only begun to scratch the surface, however, and we're excited to foster the next generation of genomics innovators working in areas as diverse as agriculture, forensics, consumer genetics, and diagnostics."