The genomics-focused Illumina Accelerator backs five new companies

Illumina Accelerator, the genomics-focused startup accelerator backed by the publicly traded genetic sequencing pioneer Illumina Corp., has picked five startups for its seventh accelerator class, the company announced.

Wth technology addressing skin microbial therapeutics, fertility science, chronic disease alleviation, post traumatic stress disorder treatments, and services for the biopharmaceutical and clinical research industries; the startups selected by Illumina will have access to the company’s genomics and sequencing expertise, business coaching, lab and office space and an infusion of capital.

“At Illumina Accelerator, we provide entrepreneurs focused on breakthrough genomic sequencing applications key resources for success,” said Mostafa Ronaghi, Ph.D., Illumina’s Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of Illumina Accelerator, in a statement. “The selected companies receive advice and expertise to help guide strategies in business and financing, team building and more. Together, with our accomplished group of graduates, our newest investments are working to advance breakthrough applications in genomics, including therapeutics, diagnostics and direct-to-consumer applications.”

The companies in the program include:


  • DermBiont, Inc., a drug discovery and development company, developing skin microbial therapeutics.
  • MedAnswers, Inc., which is using big data and genetics to match would-be parents with a curated network of fertility experts and solutions to achieve healthier fertility outcomes, faster.
  • Mediphage Bioceuticals, Inc., based on research from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, this company is developing phage-based therapies to develop cures for chronic diseases.
  • TruGenomix Health, Inc., is a genomics company focused on advancing the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Unite Genomics, Inc., a data science spinout from Berkeley’s RISELab, uses machine learning for large-scale genomic analyses that can be applied in the biopharmaceutical and clinical research industries.


As an added perk for this seventh iteration of the program, accelerator companies also get access to Helix, the Illumina-affiliated genomics product marketplace that’s aiming to close out the year with roughly $300 million in total financing.

“Through our collaboration with Illumina Accelerator, we hope to provide innovative startups like MedAnswers access to Helix’s team of experts in bioinformatics, applied genomics, product development and consumer marketing to help transform their ideas into compelling consumer applications and services that make genomics relevant and accessible to all,” said Justin Kao, co-founder and Senior Vice President of Helix.

Companies selected for Illumina’s seed investment program, receive backing fro accredited investor through a convertible note and dollar-for-dollar matching funding through the company’s $40 million Illumina Accelerator Boost Capital, (if they raise between $1 million and $5 million of qualifying capital).

Applications for the accelerator’s eighth cohort are open now and are due by May 1.