Illumina Launches Incubator in Shanghai to Accelerate Genomics Startups

DNA sequencing has been a focal R&D area for pharmaceutical companies to target the pathogenesis of illnesses and develop therapies with precision. In addition, its market is estimated to grow to 11.28 billion by 2027, revealing the business potentials of the field. 

With two accelerators already set up in the UK and US, Illumina is gearing up another collaboration with Sequoia Capital China. On February 1st, Illumina announced the launch of Sequoia Capital China Intelligent Healthcare Genomics Incubator in Shanghai. The incubator will incorporate the expertise of Illumina and Sequoia Capital China to boost Chinese genomics startups and cultivate local talents.


Key Benefits of the Incubator

The incubator, beginning in the fall of 2021, will provide several advantages in terms of R&D, marketing, business development, and investment.

First, Illumina will offer their sequencing system and reagents for startups to use freely; also they can receive professional consultation and utilize the genomics expertise from Illumina.

Next, Sequoia Capital China will provide a minimum of $500,000 upfront payment as seed funding; and startups will undergo business guidance with Sequoia Capital China to help with the investment and business development. Lastly, the incubator will provide an operational lab space at Pudong New Area, Shanghai, China, erasing the constant burden of costs such as equipment or rent.


Qualifications to Apply

However, it should be noted that not all can apply to the incubator. Startups before series B and those not located in China won’t be considered.

Besides, startups should be working in the intelligent healthcare sector, or the founders must be genomic researchers, entrepreneurs, startups, early-stage companies from academia and industry, investing in next-generation sequencing products.


Leveraging UK and US Experience

Illumina will leverage their accelerator experience in the San Francisco Bay Area and Cambridge, UK, which invested in 45 genomics startups and raised close to 600 million.

“Illumina has a successful track record of creating venture-backed genomics startup companies through Illumina Accelerator in the U.S. and UK,” said Francis deSouza, Chief Executive Officer at Illumina. “Together with Sequoia Capital China, we will now partner with leading entrepreneurs in China to build genomics startup companies that unlock powerful breakthrough genomics applications and clinical sequencing solutions that harness the unique strengths and dynamic markets in China”.

Related Article: Illumina Advances Talks to Acquire Healthcare Start-up Grail


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