Illumina Announces Three New Companies for Genomics Accelerator

Xconomy San Francisco — 

Illumina, the bioinformatics company that created an accelerator program last year focused on genomics companies, announced this morning it has picked a new group of companies to be the second class its accelerator program.

In exchange for an equity stake in each company, the Illumina Accelerator gives the startups a seed investment, business advice, and lab space in the San Francisco Bay Area. The startups also get access to San Diego-based Illumina’s (NASDAQ: ILMN) translational genomics database, among other benefits. The program lasts for six months.

Two of the three companies selected are from the West Coast, and the third is a Spanish company focused on wine.

PathoGn is a San Francisco, CA-based company that uses genomics and machine learning to create pathogen diagnostics and disease forecasting products that can be used in agriculture. Portland, OR-based Urology Diagnostics develops noninvasive urine sequencing diagnostics that are used to screen and monitor cancer.

And Biome Makers is a Spanish-founded company founded by Alberto Acedo and Adrián Ferrero, who say on their website they were picked as the best young entrepreneurs in 2014 by the Spanish Ministry of Health, Social Services, and Equality. They are trying to use advanced metagenomics to change the quality standards of vinification (fermenting fruit juice so it becomes wine) and, thus, how consumers make decision about wine, according to their site.

The accelerator program also will provide a dollar-for-dollar match of any funding that its startups bring in, for amounts between $1 million and $5 million, thanks to a $40 million commitment from Viking Global Investors.

The accelerator was first announced in February 2014, and founded along with Russian billionaire Yuri Milner and Silicon Valley Bank. Illumina receives a 10 percent equity stake in exchange for everything it provides the companies. That includes credits that allow the companies to use Illumina’s sequencing kits and reagent formulations—up to $100,000 worth, according to Amanda Cashin, who was hired to lead the program.

The companies also have the option of receiving $100,000 if they accept a convertible note from Milner. Cashin declined to disclose the size of the equity stake the note could converts into. Participants also can access an unsecured line of credit worth at least $20,000 from Silicon Valley Bank.

In October, the accelerator announced the three companies that would participate in its first class: Encoded Genomics, Xcell Biosciences, and EpiBiome.

The accelerator holds two programs each year, and is accepting applications for its fall program until Sept. 1.