Illumina and Yuri Milner will back a genomics startup incubator in San Francisco

Illumina ($ILMN) is throwing its cachet and its $1,000 genome sequencing system behind a San Francisco genomics startup incubator backed by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner.

The 6-month Illumina Accelerator Program will provide $100,000 in seed money to each of up to three startup teams it selects in exchange for convertible notes. The main dish for these entrepreneurs is access to Illumina's technology and advisers. Skeptics of the $1,000 genome aside, that could make a multimillion-dollar difference for diagnostics startups looking to use expensive DNA sequencing technology. Illumina's imprimatur is perhaps worth even more.

The planned startup incubator will be located close to Illumina's planned R&D facilities in San Francisco's Mission Bay neighborhood, a 100,000-square-foot facility announced earlier this year. According to a news release from Illumina, it will include lab space and access to sequencing systems and reagents.

CTO Mostafa Ronaghi--Courtesy of Illumina

"The dramatic reduction in the cost of sequencing has enabled the scientific and business communities to address an increasingly broad range of research and clinical opportunities," said Illumina CTO Mostafa Ronaghi in a statement. We've only begun to scratch the surface, however, and we're excited to foster the next generation of genomics innovators working in areas as diverse as agriculture, forensics, consumer genetics and diagnostics. The Illumina Accelerator Program will make it easier for them to validate and create NGS applications and bring these solutions to market."

Milner's no stranger to startup incubators and accelerators. A prolific angel investor, he made a splash in 2011 by partnering with Ron Conway and David Lee's SV Angel to pledge $150,000 to every startup in the Y Combinator accelerator.

Silicon Valley Bank is tapped to provide banking services and credit to client ventures in the Illumina Accelerator Program.

Applications are due May 16 for an inaugural 6-month session set to begin Aug. 1.

- here's the Illumina press release
- read Luke Timmerman's take in Xconomy
- read FierceBiotech IT's post

Special Report: The most influential people in biopharma today - Illumina CEO Jay Flatley

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