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Initial Companies Focused on Breakthrough Applications in Therapeutics, Agriculture, and Molecular Pathology

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Illumina, Inc. today announced the selection of three startup companies for the inaugural Illumina Accelerator funding cycle. The companies are Encoded Genomics, Inc., EpiBiome, Inc., and Xcell Biosciences Inc. The Illumina Accelerator is the world's first business accelerator focused solely on creating an innovation ecosystem for the genomics industry. It is led by Amanda Cashin, Ph.D., who was previously Senior Vice President of Life Science at Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc., where she helped lead Alexandria Venture Investments.

"The initial companies in our accelerator rose to the top of a highly competitive application process based on their potential to deliver innovative genomics apps in areas as diverse as healthcare and agriculture. Under Amanda's leadership, Illumina, along with partners Yuri Milner and Silicon Valley Bank, is very excited to work with these entrepreneurs to help them expand the next-generation sequencing market," said Mostafa Ronaghi, Ph.D., Illumina's Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer.

The Fall 2014 startups are focused on the following applications:
•    Encoded Genomics, a biopharmaceutical company, is interrogating the human genome for functional elements with therapeutic properties.
•    EpiBiome, an agriculture technology company, is developing bacteriophage compositions to prevent and treat mastitis infections in dairy cattle.
•    Xcell Biosciences, a research tools and diagnostics company, is focused on commercializing its proprietary cell culture solution that enables researchers to easily grow primary cells from patient blood, including cancer and immune cells.

The Illumina Accelerator will provide selected startups with seed investment, business guidance, access to Illumina's sequencing systems and reagents, and fully operational lab space in the San Francisco Bay Area during the six-month cycle.

Applications for the Illumina Accelerator Spring 2015 funding cycle are due by February 16, 2015. To apply, visit www.illumina.com/accelerator.