Illumina, Inc., Warburg Pincus and Sutter Hill Ventures have announced that they have formed a company to empower consumers to discover insights into their own genomes through a vibrant ecosystem of high-quality content partners. The company, called Helix, is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and received financing commitments in excess of $100 million. Jay Flatley, CEO of Illumina, will serve as Chairman of the Board.
Helix will enable individuals to acquire an unprecedented amount of genetic information by providing affordable sequencing and database services for consumer samples brought through third party partners, driving the creation of an ecosystem of consumer applications.
After being sequenced, individuals will be able to manage their data and explore an open marketplace of on-demand applications, provided by Helix's partners, to gain additional insights into the genomic data that has already been acquired.
By converting genetic information to digital data stored in the cloud, Helix enables its partners to develop and deliver premium genomic products to consumers without the burden of developing their own assay, laboratory, or database infrastructure.
"Genomics is reaching an inflection point in cost, volumes, and knowledge, creating a significant opportunity to unlock information that is currently not widely accessible to individuals," said Flatley. "Helix and its founding investors are committed to creating a neutral platform at the highest quality standard that will work with partners to accelerate consumer adoption of genomics."
Helix also announced two collaborations with major partners. First, the Center for Individualized Medicine at Mayo Clinic is collaborating with Helix to develop applications initially focused on consumer education and health-related queries. As part of the collaboration, Mayo Clinic also made a strategic investment in Helix. Second, Laboratory Corporation of America® Holdings (LabCorp®) will develop and offer innovative analysis and interpretation services, initially focused on medically actionable genetic conditions, to consumers through Helix's platform. Helix expects that other partners will develop applications focused on areas such as genealogy, fitness or wellness, and inherited traits to enable insights related to an individual's genetics.
"We are thrilled to partner with Illumina to transform how consumers interact with their own DNA," said Noah Knauf, Managing Director, Healthcare at Warburg Pincus. "We believe that the digitization of the genome will unleash entrepreneurs and developers to create new applications for consumers in a way never before possible."
To support its partners, Helix will establish one of the world's largest next-generation sequencing labs and a secure and protected database, all designed in accordance with CLIA, CAP, and HIPAA guidelines. Individuals will be able to control how their data is accessed through a robust and granular consent process. The company will also ensure that information is communicated to consumers in a responsible and ethical way. More information will be available at www.helix.com.
Illumina expects to consolidate the entity in the company's financial statements. The pro-rata impact of this deal was contemplated in the 2015 financial guidance provided by Illumina on July 21, 2015. In 2016, Helix is expected to be approximately $0.10 dilutive to Illumina's non-GAAP earnings per share guidance.
The impact on 2016 GAAP earnings per share cannot be determined at this time due to the on-going analysis of accounting measurements. Illumina will provide a reconciliation of the non-GAAP and GAAP earnings per share impact of Helix when it is available.