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Illumina is a biotechnology company founded in 1998 located in San Diego, California, developing and selling instruments, reagents, and services for DNA sequencing applications.

Illumina is headquartered in San Diego, California and was founded in 1998 by David Walt, John Stuelpnagel, Anthony Czarnik, Lawrence Bock, and Marck Chee, to develop, manufacture, and commercialize DNA sequencing technologies. The company is a global provider of DNA sequencing instruments, reagents, and services, that serve biotechnology markets such as DNA sequencing, genotyping, gene expression analysis, and proteomics. Illumina's customers are pharmaceutical companies, educational institutions, research scientists, biotechnology companies, and clinical research organizations.

Illumina has two distinct business units. The first focuses on life science related products and services such as DNA sequencing, bead arrays, vera-codes, and PCR technologies. The second unit focuses on the development and sale of technologies related to medical diagnostics.

According to Wired magazine, in 2016 Illumina's DNA sequencing machines perform 90% of global DNA sequencing. The director of global public relations for Illumina in 2016 told reporters, "We are at a tipping point in genomics, where a broad community of scientists and researchers continue to translate the potential of the genome from science to discoveries and applications" and believes DNA sequencing technologies made by Illumina will continue to be in high demand around the world well into the future.

DNA sequencing machines made by Illumina are based off DNA sequencing technologies developed by Solexa in the early to mid 2000's. Illumina acquired Solexa in 2007 for $600 million after Solexa successfully built a next generation sequencing machine that could sequence 1 gigabase (Gb) of data in a single run of the machine.

Illumina Accelerator

Illumina Accelerator is the investment arm of Illumina funding early stage genomics companies. They offer early stage companies financial support, mentorship and access to genomic technologies such as sequencing systems, reagents, and lab space.

Accelerator program

The Illumina Accelerator runs 2 six month funding cycles each year consisting of up to 5 companies per cycle with access to up to $100,000 in convertible notes from seed investors and a $20,000 unsecured line of credit. Chosen companies agree to give Illumina Accelerator 8% of common stock for participating in their accelerator program.

During each six month funding cycle selected companies are actively coached by mentors at the Illumina Accelerator to develop a custom curriculum for company building, business strategy, technology development, and pitch development. Credits are given to each company for access to Illumina sequencing technologies, and companies can hire scientists at illumina to help with experimental design. At the end of each funding cycle companies meet with venture capitalists affiliated with the Illumina Accelerator to pitch their business ideas and technologies.

Companies also have the opportunity to receive funding from a $40 million dollar pool of funding from the Illumina Accelerator Boost Capital fund. Illumina Accelerator Boost Capital has a deal with Viking Global Investors to match funding dollar-for-dollar for startups managing to raise in between $1 million and $5 million in funding.

Grant Competition

Illumina Accelerator's grant competition encourages entrepreneurs to create companies using next generation sequencing technologies. Grant winners are able to spend one week running sequencing experiments for proof-of-concept at Illumina Accelerator. When the grant is awarded it needs to be used within 6-months. The grant also gives entrepreneurs one business coaching session, and two sequencing experiment design meetings with a senior scientist at Illumina.


On August 17, 2017 Illumina Accelerator announced they will collaborating with a personal genomics company called Helix. The partnership seeks to help entrepreneurs develop DNA-driven products and services. Startups accepted into Illumina Accelerator's accelerator program will gain access to Helix's expertise and sequencing platform. The co-founder and senior vice president of Helix, Justin Kao, had the following to say about the partnership "We are proud to collaborate with Illumina Accelerator to stimulate innovation in personal genomics by helping selected startups harness their creativity and build best-in-class DNA-powered products for everyday use".

Investment portfolio


April 22, 2021
Illumina and Kartos Therapeutics announce new oncology partnership to develop an NGS-based TP53 companion diagnostic.
May 2018
Illumina acquires Edico Genome for an undisclosed amount.
Illumina was founded by Amanda Cashin, David R. Walt, John Stuelpnagel, Larry Bock and Satnam Alag.

Funding Rounds





Further Resources


$40 million genomics accelerator introduced by Helix and Illumina

Richard Harris

News article

Illumina Accelerator explores genomic innovation in Ontario - Ontario Genomics

Ontario Genomics

News article

Illumina Might Be Overlooking Its Top Competitor; Here's Why Investors Shouldn't

Maxx Chatsko

Web article

Illumina, the Google of Genetic Testing, Has Plans for World Domination

Sarah Zhang

Web article


Conor Hale
September 21, 2021
The European Commission described its actions as an unprecedented step in response to the companies' defiant move last month, which finalized an $8 billion transaction in the face of pending antitrust probes on both sides of the Atlantic.
Andrea Park
September 7, 2021
The tests will be used to identify ovarian cancer patients with genetic mutations that have been found to respond well to PARP inhibitors, a type of targeted cancer drug, reducing the need for intensive chemotherapy and radiation exposure.
Conor Hale
August 19, 2021
Despite looming antitrust investigations on both sides of the Atlantic, Illumina has pushed forward with its $8 billion deal to acquire Grail, maker of a newly launched blood test to detect dozens of different cancers.
Alexandra Ames
August 17, 2021
Solving the twin challenges of human and planetary health is the greatest task of our generation, and it also presents the greatest entrepreneurial opportunity in history which is why we've partnered with Mayfield to bring you an engineering biology track to Disrupt 2021 this September 21-23. Haven't secured your spot yet? Grab your ticket now [...]
Conor Hale
August 6, 2021
In something of an understatement, Illumina CEO Francis deSouza said a 78% increase in second quarter sales over 2020 "significantly exceeded expectations" and has pushed the sequencing giant to raise its financial guidance for the remainder of the year.


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