Illumina Invests in £30M Venture Fund to Advance Breakthroughs in Human Health

Investment will fund genomics startups for Illumina Accelerator Cambridge graduates

05-Jul-2022 - USA

Illumina, Inc. announced its participation in Time Boost Capital I LP, a £30 million genomics venture fund dedicated to providing match funding to startups graduating from Illumina Accelerator Cambridge with the aim to advance breakthroughs in human health. Illumina Accelerator, located in both San Francisco and Cambridge, is a company creation engine that partners with entrepreneurs to create genomics startups and advance innovative applications. Illumina joins a select group of US and European investors in the life sciences fund, including cornerstone investor LifeArc.

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Since opening in July 2020, Illumina Accelerator Cambridge has launched 13 startups focused on harnessing genomics applications to improve human health, including novel therapeutics, diagnostics, synthetic biology, research tools, and agriculture. In addition, approximately 54% of Illumina Accelerator Cambridge startups have been founded by women—by comparison, in 2020, only 20% of all new startups over the previous year had female founders, according to CrunchBase.

"Time Boost Capital Fund will further propel our Illumina Accelerator Cambridge startups and advance our mission to improve human health by unlocking the power of the genome," said Amanda Cashin, PhD, cofounder and global head of Illumina for Startups. "Cambridge is a leading global hub for life science innovation and entrepreneurship, and this dedicated venture fund will attract the most exceptional entrepreneurs from across the globe."

Time Boost Capital's £30 million in capital commitments from select US and European investors include a £10 million commitment from LifeArc, a leading UK independent medical research charity, and investment from Illumina Ventures, an independent fund investing in genomics and precision health. Time Boost Capital will provide pound-for-pound match funding to every Illumina Accelerator Cambridge graduate that secures between £500,000 and £4 million in new capital from qualified investors within 18 months of acceptance. The fund is advised by Time Partners, a private markets investment adviser focused on long-term investment solutions.

"We are proud to partner with Illumina, a global leader in next-generation sequencing technologies," said Mark Florman, CEO of Time Partners Limited. "Illumina is making a significant commitment to supporting new growth in the field through Illumina Accelerator. As an investment advisor to Time Boost Capital, we have the unique opportunity to back some of the most promising new genomics businesses in the world."

During two 6-month funding cycles each year, Illumina Accelerator provides selected startups with access to seed investment, Illumina sequencing systems and reagents, business guidance, genomics expertise, and fully operational lab space adjacent to Illumina's campuses in Cambridge and the San Francisco Bay Area.

"Illumina Accelerator's track record in building breakthrough genomics startups is unparalleled," said Alex Aravanis, MD, PhD, chief technology officer of Illumina. "The partnership with Time Partners to provide match funding to our graduates of Illumina Accelerator Cambridge will further advance innovative genomic discoveries that will benefit people around the world."

Illumina Accelerator Cambridge alumni include Alchemab Therapeutics Ltd., a therapeutics company pioneering the next generation of antibody drugs, which successfully raised £60 million in series A funding upon graduation. Another alumni is recent graduate Broken String Biosciences Ltd., a sequencing tools company focused on assessing the stability of the genome, which secured £3 million in seed funding.

Illumina Accelerator is accepting applications for the next global funding cycle, which are due by October 1, 2022. Through a single, global application process, Illumina Accelerator will select up to five companies in each location.

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