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Illumina Accelerator Cambridge is officially opened by regional mayor



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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.

The Illumina facility at Granta Park. Picture: Keith Heppell
The Illumina facility at Granta Park. Picture: Keith Heppell

Illumina Accelerator is a company creation engine that provides select start-ups 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 during each six-month funding cycle.

Since its launch in July 2020, Illumina Accelerator Cambridge (IAC) has launched 13 start-ups 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 start-ups to Cambridge from seven different countries (UK, Poland, South Africa, Israel, US, Argentina and India). The company won the Innovation award at the 2022 Cambridge Independent Science & Technology Awards.

The event was a celebratory occasion to reflect on the accomplishments that the start-up 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.

It was hosted by Paula Dowdy, senior vice president and general manager of Illumina for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Guests included the Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Dr Nik Johnson, entrepreneurs and Illumina’s partner, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA).

Ribbon cutting of Illumina Accelerator with, from left, Jason Yip, Jakub Mieczkowski, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Dr Nik Johnson, Paula Dowdy, James Ross, and Felix Dobbs. Picture: Keith Heppell
Ribbon cutting of Illumina Accelerator with, from left, Jason Yip, Jakub Mieczkowski, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Dr Nik Johnson, Paula Dowdy, James Ross, and Felix Dobbs. Picture: Keith Heppell

Dr 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.”

Illumina’s partnership with the mayor and Cambridgeshire and 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 £100,000 in upfront seed funding to incoming start-ups.

The Cambridge Independent Science and technology Awards 2022 presentation of the Award for Innovation, was sponsored by Illumina, and won by Evonetix. Picture: Keith Heppell
The Cambridge Independent Science and technology Awards 2022 presentation of the Award for Innovation, was sponsored by Illumina, and won by Evonetix. Picture: Keith Heppell

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.”



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