What Illumina Ventures’ Portfolio Says About The Science And Business Models Of The Future Care Delivery System

A look inside a leading venture capital firm’s portfolio is like a lens for understanding the current state of the future of healthcare.

Illumina Ventures’ is an independently-managed, healthcare-focused venture firm in a strategic partnership with Illumina, Inc.

The portfolio illustrates as much about business models as it does about the science behind synthetic biology. For example, there are several direct-to-consumer offerings that show how healthcare is trending away from centralized sick care towards digital-first consumers focused on access and affordability.

Platform business models are also a feature. I imagine Illumina focuses on finding early-stage companies founded on the idea being a tool company but have the potential to become a platform business developing a variety of therapeutics. This is how you get a 10-fold increase in TAM.

Synthetic biology is well represented in terms of the contours of the current scientific frontier:

  • Wetware: synthetically engineered organisms, denucleated cellular drones or automata;
  • Hardware: sequencing- and array-based tools for genetic and genomic analysis;
  • Software: in silico bio-simulations for drug development, big data analytics trained on large-scale biomedical datasets, CRISPR;
  • AI: artificial neural networks, genetic algorithms for pattern recognition, advanced interpretation of genomics;

And at the intersection of all of the above is diagnostics.

Here is the portfolio as of October 2020:

Actym Therapeutics, an immuno-oncology company, is targeting intractable immune pathways in the tumor microenvironment. The company has developed a microbial-based immunotherapy platform called STACT (S. Typhimurium Attenuated Cancer Therapy) which, in preclinical studies, specifically enriches in many types of solid tumors and not in healthy tissue.


Biota is the pioneer of industrial genomics with a purpose to commercialize Biology as a Data Business™. Since inception, Biota has created $400M in economic value and saved 1.2B gallons of water for several large customers in the energy, chemicals, agriculture, water, and mining industries. Biota provides genomic monitoring solutions that impact strategic decisions with improved ROIC, increased operating margin, and reduced risk. With global scale, Biota has discovered foundational innovations in microbiome science and measurement and developed innovative, enterprise-grade AI software.LEARN MORE

Cernostics is a leader in tissue-based diagnostic testing, providing diagnostic tests with deeper tissue insights, better patient outcomes and lower cost of care. Their mission is to quantify the complexity of the tissue system, providing physicians and patients with individualized, actionable information to improve outcomes and reduce the incidence and mortality of cancer.LEARN MORE

Cradle Genomics proprietary assay is based on the genetic analysis of fetal material that are quickly collected during a first trimester visit with no risk to the mother or developing fetus. Headquartered in San Diego with additional R&D operations in Detroit, Cradle Genomics is dedicated to the transformation of NIPT by offering the most comprehensive fetal genetic analysis and pregnancy health screening solutions at the earliest stages of pregnancy.LEARN MORE


DNA Script is a leading company in manufacturing de novo synthetic nucleic acids using an enzymatic technology. The company aims at accelerating innovation in life science and technology through rapid, affordable, and high-quality DNA synthesis. DNA Script’s approach leverages nature’s billions of years of evolution in synthesizing DNA to set a new standard for how DNA is made and accelerate the adoption of synthetic biology across diverse disciplines such as biopharma, sustainable chemistry and crop science. LEARN MORE


Harnessing the regulatory genome to create next-generation molecular therapies. LEARN MORE

Genome Medical, Inc. is a network of clinical genetics experts integrating genomics into everyday health care. We enable patients and clinicians to navigate the rapidly evolving field of genomics to improve health, diagnose and prevent disease, and lower the cost of care. Our goal is to bridge the gap between genomic technology and medical practice by creating scalable, efficient models for lifelong genome-centered health care. LEARN MORE

Kallyope is focused on the identification of new therapeutic and consumer opportunities involving the gut-brain axis, the information highway between our gut and our brain. Founded and headquartered in New York City, Kallyope is integrating cutting-edge technologies including single cell sequencing, optogenetics, neural imaging and bioinformatics into a platform that will decode and translate gut-brain circuits, changing the way we think about food, nutrition, and human physiology. LEARN MORE

LetsGetChecked is a leading health insights company that allows consumers direct access to a wide range of testing options and clinical services from home. Founded in 2015, the company empowers people to take an active role in their health to live longer, happier lives. By combining health data and diagnostic results, LetsGetChecked provides rich health insights to enable better healthcare decision making. LEARN MORE

Luna DNA is the first genomic and medical research database owned by its community. A Public Benefit Corporation, Luna DNA enables people to share their health data for medical research for the greater good of the community. LEARN MORE

NanoCellect develops microfluidic technology for cell based assays. NanoCellect’s WOLF cell sorter and N1 single cell plate dispenser allows researchers to perform antibody discovery, cell line development, genomic sample preparation and CRISPR genomic editing faster, safer, and without contamination. LEARN MORE

Pattern Bioscience is an in vitro diagnostics company founded to help combat the problem of antibiotic resistance. Pattern’s next-generation clinical microbiology platform, Digital Culture™, is based on its patented phenotypic single-cell technology that can rapidly identify pathogens and determine their antibiotic response without the need for traditional time-consuming culture steps, delivering more reliable diagnoses days faster than the current standard of care. LEARN MORE


Ribometrix is a platform therapeutics company discovering small molecule drugs that target functional 3D RNA structures to treat human diseases. LEARN MORE

SerImmune reveals the compositions of functional immune repertoires, creating new opportunities for therapeutic and diagnostic development. SerImmune maps the distinct antibodies within a repertoire to antigens associated with infections, allergens, microbiome organisms, autoimmune diseases, and cancers. LEARN MORE

SQZ Biotech logo.png

SQZ Biotechnologies is a cell therapy company developing novel treatments for multiple therapeutic areas. The SQZ platform directly engineers complex cell functions without affecting cell health, with a simple and scalable process.  The therapeutic platform can bring cell therapies into indications where new and innovative treatments are needed the most. LEARN MORE


Stilla Technologies focuses on accelerating the development of next-generation genetic tests by providing a ground-breaking and flexible digital PCR (dPCR) solution: the Naica System. Taking advantage of cutting-edge microfluidic innovations, Stilla aims to make dPCR a lab commodity for all areas of the life sciences. LEARN MORE

IPO in October 2018 (NASDAQ: TWST). At Twist Bioscience, our expertise is accelerating science and innovation by leveraging our proprietary semiconductor-based synthetic DNA manufacturing process featuring a 10,000-well silicon platform to deliver cost-effective, rapid, high-quality and high throughput gene production, to expedite the design, build, test cycle to enable personalized medicines, pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals, improved agriculture production, diagnostics, biodetection and data storage. LEARN MORE

Investments made by Illumina, Inc. prior to the launch of Illumina Ventures:

23andMe, Inc. is the leading personal genetics company. Founded in 2006, the mission of the company is to help people access, understand and benefit from the human genome. 23andMe offers the first and only genetic service available directly to consumers that includes reports that meet FDA standards. More than one million customers worldwide have been genotyped by 23andMe, with over 80 percent consented to participate in research. LEARN MORE

Ariosa Diagnostics, Inc. is a leading global molecular diagnostics company committed to improving overall patient care by developing and delivering innovative, affordable, and widely-accessible testing services through its CLIA laboratory. Ariosa has developed leading-edge technologies to perform a directed analysis of cell-free DNA in blood.

Ariosa was acquired by Roche in 2015. LEARN MORE

Baebies provides timely, inexpensive and flexible testing for a wide range of pediatric diseases, particularly through newborn screening. We are bringing new technology, new tests, and new hope to children and their parents worldwide. At Baebies, we believe everyone deserves a healthy start.  LEARN MORE

Boreal Genomics develops novel tools for cancer diagnostics and life sciences research based on a platform for enrichment and purification of nucleic acids licensed from the University of British Columbia in 2007. Boreal has commercialized two products, one for purification of highly contaminated DNA samples with applications in environmental metagenomics and forensics, and the second for enrichment of circulating tumor DNA in the rapidly growing “liquid biopsy” field for therapy selection, monitoring, and early detection of cancer. LEARN MORE

CareDx, Inc. is a molecular diagnostics company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of clinically differentiated, high-value diagnostic surveillance solutions for transplant patients. The company has commercialized AlloMap®, a gene expression test that aids clinicians in caring for heart transplant patients. The company also develops AlloSure, a donor-derived cellfree DNA based surveillance solution for Kidney Transplant patients.

CareDx had a successful IPO in 2015. LEARN MORE

Counsyl is a health technology company that offers DNA testing for diseases that can impact men, women and their children. The Counsyl philosophy is simple: screen for diseases where advanced knowledge makes a difference in health outcomes, whether it’s changing a behavior, pursuing preventative measures, or simply preparing for what lies ahead. LEARN MORE

Headquartered in Reykjavik, Iceland, deCODE is a global leader in analyzing and understanding the human genome. Using their unique expertise and population resources, deCODE has discovered key genetic risk factors for dozens of common diseases ranging from cardiovascular disease to cancer.

deCODE genetics was acquired by Amgen in 2012. LEARN MORE

Desktop Genetics is a UK-based software company building a CRISPR AI that enables scientists to modify any cell, in any species by designing and executing personalized CRISPR genome editing, right from their desktop. LEARN MORE

GenoLogics is a leading provider of laboratory information management system (LIMS) software specifically designed for use with genomics technologies in regulated and unregulated labs. Clarity LIMS offers quick implementation, an intuitive role-optimized interface, and features that make it an invaluable investment for labs that are regulated and utilizing NGS and other genomics technologies.

Genologics was acquired by Illumina in 2015. LEARN MORE

Helixis developed and manufactured a low cost, high performance realtime PCR instrument based on a technology developed at Caltech by Nobel Laureate David Baltimore. 

Helixis was acquired by Illumina in 2010.

Human Longevity, Inc. (HLI), is creating the world’s largest and most comprehensive database of whole genome, phenotype and clinical data, and by applying large scale computing and machine learning to this data, HLI is making novel discoveries which will revolutionize the practice of medicine. HLI’s business also includes the HLI Health Nucleus™, a genomic powered clinical research center which uses whole genome sequence analysis, advanced clinical imaging and innovative machine learning, along with curated personal health information, to deliver the most complete picture of individual health. LEARN MORE

Sequenta was a biotech company dedicated to the discovery and development of clinical diagnostics based on a revolutionary new platform for understanding immune system status. A profound reduction in the cost of DNA sequencing enabled the company to develop brand new approaches to measuring the most variable part of the human genome: the immune cell receptor genes.

Sequenta was acquired by Adaptive Biotechnologies in 2015. LEARN MORE

SpeeDx is an innovative molecular diagnostics company with class leading multiplexing technology. From highly multiplexed detection assays for infectious diseases to characterizing SNPs related to antibiotic resistance, SpeeDx is pushing the limits of qPCR and creating more actionable information for laboratories and clinicians alike. LEARN MORE

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What Illumina Ventures’ Portfolio Says About The Science And Business Models Of The Future Care Delivery System was last modified: October 28th, 2020 by Simons Chase