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Illumina, Inc., world's smartest company by MIT Technology Review

Illumina, Inc., world's smartest company by MIT Technology Review. Science & Technology World Website

Illumina, Inc. is an American company incorporated in April 1998 that develops, manufactures and markets integrated systems for the analysis of genetic variation and biological function. In 2014, Illumina was named the world's smartest company by MIT Technology Review. Using its technologies, the company provides a line of products and services that serve the sequencing,genotyping and gene expression markets. This technology had purportedly by 2013 reduced the cost of sequencing a human genome to US$4,000, down from a price of US$1 million in 2007. Customers include genomic research centers, pharmaceutical companies, academic institutions, clinical research organizations and biotechnology companies. Its tools provide researchers with the capability to perform genetic tests needed to extract medical information from advances in genomics and proteomics. Its headquarters are located in San Diego, California.


Illumina was founded in April 1998 by David Walt, Larry Bock, John Stuelpnagel, Anthony Czarnik, and Mark Chee. While working with CW Group, a venture capital firm, Bock and Stuelpnagel uncovered what would become Illumina's BeadArray technology at Tufts University and negotiated an exclusive license to that technology. Illumina completed its initial public offering in July 2000.

Illumina began offering single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping services in 2001 and launched its first system, the Illumina BeadLab, in 2002, using GoldenGate Genotyping technology. Illumina currently offers microarray-based products and services for an expanding range of genetic analysis sequencing, including SNP genotyping,gene expression, and protein analysis. Illumina's technologies are used by a broad range of academic, government, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and other leading institutions around the globe.

On January 26, 2007, the Company completed the acquisition of Hayward based Solexa, Inc. Solexa Ltd,based in Cambridge UK was founded in June 1998 by Shankar Balasubramanian, and David Klenerman to develop and commercialize genome sequencing technology invented by the founders in the University of Cambridge. Solexa INC was formed 2005 when Solexa Ltd reversed into Lynx Therapeutics of Hayward. technology uses also the DNA colony sequencing technology, invented in 1997 by Pascal Mayer and Laurent Farinelli and which was acquired by Solexa in 2004 from the company Manteia Predictive Medicine. It is being used to perform a range of analyses, including whole genome resequencing, gene expression analysis and small ribonucleic acid (RNA) analysis.

In June 2009, Illumina announced the launch of their own Personal Full Genome Sequencing Service at a depth of 30X for $48,000 per genome, and a year later dropped the price to $19,500. This is still too expensive for true commercialization but the price will most likely decrease substantially over the next few years as they realize economies of scale and given the competition with other companies such as Complete Genomics and Knome. As of May 2011, Illumina reduced the price to $4,000.

Illumina acquired Epicentre Biotechnologies, based in Madison, Wisconsin, on January 11, 2011.

On January 25, 2012, Hoffmann-La Roche made an unsolicited bid to buy Illumina for $44.50 per share or about $5.7 billion. Roche tried other tactics, including raising its offer (to $51.00, for about $6.8 billion). Illumina rejected the offer, and Roche abandoned the offer in April.

As of April 2013, the company's chief executive officer was Jay Flatley.

In 2014, the company announced a multimillion-dollar product, HiSeq X Ten, that it forecast would provide large-scale whole-genome sequencing for $1,000/genome. The company claimed that forty such machines would be able to sequence more genomes in one year than had been produced by all other sequencers to date. In January 2014, Illumina already held 70 percent of the market for genome-sequencing machines.Illumina machines accounted for more than 90 percent of all DNA data produced.

On July 5, 2016 Jay Flatley assumed the role of Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors. Francis deSouza took on the role of President and Chief Executive Officer, and continues to serve on the Illumina Board of Directors.


DNA methylation profiling

Golden Gate Methylation

The GoldenGate Methylation Cancer Panel allows the user to probe 1,505 CpG loci selected from 807 genes across a large sample size. The array based method allows 96 samples to be probed simultaneously on one array matrix.

Infinium methylation

Utilizing Illumina's HumanMethylation27 DNA Analysis BeadChip and the Infinium technology, this method allows the user to map single methylation resolution for 27,578 CpG sites across over 14,000 genes. This Chip has been replaced by the 450K Methylation Chip and later by the EPIC Array, covering about 850k sites.

DNA sequencing

Illumina sells a number of very high-throughput DNA sequencing systems, also known as DNA sequencers, based on technology developed by Solexa. The technology features bridge amplification to generate clusters and reversible terminators for sequence determination. The technology behind these sequencing systems involves ligation of fragmented DNA to a chip, followed by primer addition and sequential fluorescent dNTP incorporation and detection. 



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