17 June 2022
After being launched and successfully running for two years, Illumina Accelerator, Cambridge was finally able to celebrate with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony that had been delayed because of COVID-19 restrictions. A recent event (held on 15th June) was hosted by Paul Dowdy, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Illumina for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Distinguished guests included Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Dr Nik Johnson, entrepreneurs and Illumina’s partner Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA).
The event was a celebratory occasion to reflect on the accomplishments that the startup engine has had so far and the global impact that it can continue to make – it is becoming a powerhouse in attracting top talent and investment capital into genomics and into Cambridge, UK.
Dr Nik Johnson said “I’m delighted to be able to cut the ribbon on a fantastic accelerator programme that is making an important contribution to the growing life sciences sector in this region. Creating the conditions for start-ups to thrive, like this accelerator does, creates the high-growth companies and skilled jobs that will support our economy and communities for years to come.”
Illumia Accelerator is a company creation engine that provides select startups with access to seed investment, business guidance, Illumina’s sequencing systems and reagent and fully operational lab space in the San Francisco Bay Area or Cambridge, UK during each six-month funding cycle.
Since its launch in July 2020, Illumina Accelerator, Cambridge (IAC) has launched 13 startups dedicated to harnessing the applications of genomics to improve human health, including novel therapeutics, diagnostics, synthetic biology, research tools, and agriculture.  With a global reach, IAC has brought startups to Cambridge from seven different countries (UK, Poland, South Africa, Israel, US, Argentina & India).
Illumina’s partnership with the Mayor and Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority, announced in June 2020, has helped in building Illumina Accelerator Cambridge over the past two years, with the Mayoral Combined Authority providing £100K in upfront seed funding to incoming startups. Up to 30 businesses will benefit from this seed funding partnership with CPCA over a period of three years.
“We are delighted to partner with the Mayoral Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority in celebrating the ribbon-cutting ceremony today,” said Paula Dowdy, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Illumina for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. “Cambridge is a leading cluster of life science innovation in UK and globally. We’re proud to celebrate our first four funding cycles to date.”
Among the UK Accelerator alumni are Alchemab Therapeutics LTD, a therapeutics company pioneering the next generation of antibody drugs that went on to raise £60M in Series A funding upon graduation, as well as recent graduate Broken String Biosciences Limited, a sequencing tools company focused on assessing the stability of the genome that secured £3M in seed funding.
Image: Paula Dowdy, Mayor Nik Johnson
17 June 2022
Posted by Illumina Accelerator Cambridge, UK
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