Illumina Accelerator Invests in the Fifth Global Funding Cycle of Startups Advancing Breakthrough Therapeutics, Diagnostics, Women's Health, and Sustainable Agriculture Applications
September 14, 2022
Six startups from Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, South Africa, United Kingdom and the United States will receive seed investment and access to technology and expertise
SAN DIEGO, Sept. 14, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Illumina, Inc. (NASDAQ: ILMN), a global leader in DNA sequencing and array-based technologies, today announced that it has invested in six genomics startups for the fifth global funding cycle of Illumina Accelerator in the San Francisco Bay Area and Cambridge, UK. Illumina Accelerator is a world-class company creation engine focused on partnering with entrepreneurs to build breakthrough genomics startups. The program also announced today the October 1, 2022 application deadline for its next funding cycle.
"We are proud to welcome these six fantastic genomics startups to our Illumina Accelerator portfolio," said Amanda Cashin, co-founder and global head of Illumina for Startups. "We have an eight-year track record of partnering with talented entrepreneurs. We're proud of Illumina Accelerator's strong portfolio of 74 genomics startups focused on unlocking the power of the genome to improve human health around the world."
During six-month funding cycles twice per year, Illumina Accelerator provides the selected startups with access to seed investment, access to Illumina sequencing systems and reagents, and business guidance, genomics expertise, and fully operational lab space adjacent to Illumina's campuses in Cambridge or the Bay Area. Illumina Accelerator is accepting applications for the next funding cycle, which are due by October 1, 2022. Through a single process open to applicants from around the world, Illumina Accelerator will select up to five companies for each location. To learn more and apply, visit the website.
The newest companies to join Illumina Accelerator's portfolio of genomics startups are:
Acrobat Genomics Inc. , a drug discovery spinout from Stanford University, is building a pipeline of novel therapeutics by leveraging its proprietary high-throughput CRISPR gene editing precision technology.
Dama Health Ltd. , a women's health company based in London, offers precision screening to identify the most suitable contraception type and formulation, empowering women, people assigned female at birth, and clinicians to make personalized reproductive health decisions.
Nusantics Pte. Ltd. , a precision genomics company from Indonesia, develops and commercializes microbiome-related diagnostic tools tailored for the highly diverse Indonesian and Asian population.
Pandora Biosciences Inc., a neuroscience company from South Africa, is building genetically diverse and physiologically relevant organoid-based disease models to advance drug discovery and development for genetically complex neurological diseases.
Terrapeutics Pharma Ltd. , a drug discovery company based in Jerusalem, is tackling the most challenging "undruggable" drug targets by offering a new approach to discovering novel small therapeutic molecules from soil, based on the intelligence of nature.
Viridian Seeds Inc. , an agricultural biotechnology company from Cambridge, UK, and Galway, Ireland, is commercializing next-generation sustainable protein crops with novel traits to increase yield and reduce biotic and abiotic stress tolerances, while increasing protein and nutritional content for climate change mitigation, resilience, and food security.
"We are inspired by the global reach of genomics and by the vision these six startups have in advancing breakthrough discoveries in human health, agriculture, and sustainability," said Alex Aravanis, chief technology officer of Illumina. "We look forward to partnering with the new teams to accelerate their startups to the next level."
About Illumina for Startups
Illumina for Startups is focused solely on creating an innovation ecosystem for the genomics industry by partnering with leading venture capital investors and entrepreneurs to create, launch, and grow genomics startups. Illumina for Startups initiatives include Illumina Accelerator, founded in 2014, and Sequoia Capital China Intelligent Healthcare Genomics Incubator, Powered by Illumina, founded in 2021. Illumina Accelerator is a company creation engine co-located with Illumina research and development sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Cambridge, UK. Since inception, Illumina Accelerator has invested in 74 genomics startups from across the globe, which have collectively raised over $1 billion in venture capital funding. Approximately 93% of Illumina Accelerator investments have gone on to raise additional capital from leading investors. For more information, visit our website.
Illumina is improving human health by unlocking the power of the genome. Our focus on innovation has established us as a global leader in DNA sequencing and array-based technologies, serving customers in the research, clinical, and applied markets. Our products are used for applications in the life sciences, oncology, reproductive health, agriculture, and other emerging segments. To learn more, visit illumina.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube.
Terrapeutics emerges from stealth signing a cooperation agreement with Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS) to co-develop novel antibiotics and RAS inhibitors for the treatment of uncurable cancers
Jerusalem, March 16 2022 Terrapeutics Pharma (“Terrapeutics”) and the Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS) are pleased to announce that they have reached a cooperation agreement to co-develop novel natural products that will be the basis for new drugs in two of the most challenging drug targets that are considered the “holy grail” of the pharmaceutical industry. The HIPS is a joint institution of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) and Saarland University.
Some of the most devastating diseases, such as infections with antibiotic resistant bacteria and RAS-driven cancers (pancreatic, colon, and more), are currently undruggable despite detailed knowledge of the underlying molecular mechanisms. While industry leaders agree that small bioactive molecules produced by microorganisms have a tremendous potential to solve this therapeutic challenge, current methodologies can test only 0.1% of their potential. The staggering 99.9% are unexplored and considered "dark matter" to pharma companies.
Under this collaboration, Terrapeutics will utilize its ground breaking technology to screen and select microorganisms that produce small molecule inhibitors targeted against resistant bacteria and oncogenic RAS. HIPS will utilize its expertise to isolate, characterize and optimize the newly discovered novel molecules for their use in humans.
Dr. Ariel Werman CSO & Co-Founder of Terrapeutics said: “This agreement represents an important milestone in Terrapeutics road to become a world leader in natural molecule-based drug discovery, focusing on undruggable targets. Our revolutionary technology, enables us to look at the 99.9% fraction of the naturally produced molecules that the pharmaceutical industry is blind to, and rapidly, selectively and accurately pick microorganisms that produce molecules that respond to specific drug targets. It is as if we are performing a high throughput screening against a specific drug target, using nature as our library of compounds”
Mr. Eddie Sadan CEO & Co-Founder of Terrapeutics added that “this is a strategic engagement with a world leading research institute in the field of natural molecules for Pharmaceutical use that leverages our innovative approach to this field together with HIPS outstanding capabilities and knowledge to solve two of the biggest challenges the pharmaceutical industry faces”.
Prof. Dr. Rolf Muller, Managing Director at the HIPS, commented: “We are intrigued to jointly evaluate the potential of Terrapeutics technology for the isolation of bacteria producing specific natural products. If we can manage to specifically isolate those bacteria that make the compounds we are looking for, we can skip a very time- and cost-intensive part of the usual drug development process. This would bring us a big step forwards in the fight against antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and other diseases threatening global human health.”
The Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS) in Saarbrücken is a site of the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research (HZI) and was founded jointly by HZI and Saarland University in 2009. Researchers at the HIPS focus on the development of novel anti-infectives by combining state-of-the-art medicinal chemistry and natural product-based research with innovative drug delivery approaches.
Terrapeutics is a drug discovery startup that developed a revolutionary technology which screens the full potential of naturally produced molecules and allows selecting a specific drug-producing microorganism from a vastly complex environment. Using synthetic biology, the company challenges the resident bacteria in their natural environment so that its community's survival depends on the synthesis of an inhibitor to a drug target of our choice. Terrapeutics' technology swiftly identifies these microbes and their produced molecules. Its powerful methodology leads to the discovery of novel scaffolds that inhibit the most challenging drug targets, including what are considered “undruggable” in a rapid manner.
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