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Illumina boosts medical innovation for Aussie startups with a $5m genomics facility

NASDAQ-listed life sciences company Illumina announced the opening of a new, fully equipped laboratory to assist Australian researchers and entrepreneurs to make significant scientific breakthroughs in fields such as infectious disease, oncology, genetic disease, and agriculture. 

The facility, known as the Illumina Innovation Collective, will make the latest in DNA sequencing, array platforms, and data analysis tools available, all supported by specialised scientific expertise, to enable doctors and researchers to understand and fully tap into the genome’s power.

Investments by state and federal governments in medical research and commercialisation over the last few years have led industry commentators to champion the biotech sector as a critical sector for Australia’s economic recovery from COVID-19.

The Illumina Innovation Collective’s goal is to support at least half a dozen Australian research projects concurrently. 

Gretchen Weightman, Illumina Vice President and General Manager of the Asia Pacific and Japan said, “Genomic discoveries offer new treatments and fresh hope to the patients of tomorrow as well as novel solutions for our farming communities. 

“During our early years, Illumina pioneered technology that could see into the genome. Since then, we have endeavoured to make the genome more accessible to ensure that the extraordinary potential of these scientific breakthroughs has a truly global reach.

“Our investment is a testament to the strength and breadth of the unique talent and culture of innovation that can be found in Australia,” Ms Weightman said.

It is Australia’s first genomics lab, where Illumina’s training specialists, lab scientists, clinical liaison officers, and medical affairs teams collaborate with genomics leaders, healthcare professionals, and patient groups to fully realise genomics’ potential.

“We are dedicated to making a positive impact on the community, not just through our technology, but through our actions,” Ms Weightman added. 

Partnering with VC investors

Illumina Innovation Collective will also host Illumina for Startups Australia, a programme dedicated to building an innovation ecosystem for the genomics industry by collaborating with leading venture capital investors and entrepreneurs to create, launch, and grow genomics startups in Australia. 

Illumina Innovation Collective is located close proximate to the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre in Melbourne, Australia. 

Illumina for Startups initiatives also includes the Illumina Accelerator, which was launched in 2014, and the Sequoia Capital China Intelligent Healthcare Genomics Incubator, which was announced in 2021 and is powered by Illumina.

Dr Emma Ball, Head of Illumina for Startups Australia said, “We are looking forward to partnering with the vibrant entrepreneurial and investor ecosystem in Australia by dedicating advanced technologies, genomics expertise, business guidance and networks to accelerate innovation and startups across the region. 

“Through collaborative interactions, rapid delivery of solutions, and prioritising the needs of researchers and entrepreneurs, Illumina Innovation Collective will spearhead genomics innovation at a global level to make a real impact on human health and beyond,” Dr Ball said.

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Yajush Gupta

Yajush Gupta

Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.

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