Illumina Spins Out Forensic Genetics Business Into New Company, Verogen
August 24, 2017
By Mark Terry, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
Illumina (ILMN) and Telegraph Hill Partners, a San Francisco-based venture capital and growth equity firm, are working together to launch Verogen. Illumina is basically spinning off its forensic genetic sequencing business.
Illumina granted Verogen exclusive rights to its forensic sequencing technology to Verogen clients, including for criminal casework and “other human and nonhuman forensic applications.”
“Verogen will build on Illumina’s past efforts by focusing on innovation, development, and commercialization of forensic genomics products, built on a deep understanding of how to improve the science behind the use of genetic data in matters of justice,” said Dawn Barry, Illumina’s vice president of New and Emerging Markets, in a statement. “The MiSeq FGx Forensic Genomics System continues to lead the transition to NGS, and we believe the best way to realize the full potential of this business is to create a company with a management team dedicated to using genomics to make a safer and more just world.”
Verogen will be based in the San Diego area, and it will be the sole provider of the MiSeq FGx Forensic Genomics System, which includes the MiSeq FGx sequencer, ForenSeq DNA Signature Prep Kit, and the ForenSeq Universal Analysis Software. It holds the global commercial rights to these products.
Kirk Malloy will be Verogen’s chief executive officer. He was an Illumina executive for 13 years, most recently senior vice president for Applied Genomics since April 2016. Cydne Holt will act as general manager and chief scientific officer. She was previously Illumina’s forensic genomics manager.
Additional executives of the spinoff include Kathy Stephens, vice president of research and development, John Walsh, head of Technical Marketing, Meghan Didier, senior forensic scientist, Ann Allison, FGx sales specialist, Melissa Kotkin, FGx field application scientist, Guido Sandulli, vice president, global marketing, Kameran Wong, associate product manager, and Danny Hall, sales director, Americas.
“The power of genomics to serve the forensic market while improving justice and public safety, provides a strong case for the need to address remaining barriers to NGS adoption in crime laboratories as quickly as possible,” said Paul Grossman, Venture Partner at THP. “We believe that Illumina’s market-leading NGS technology and our team of dedicated forensic experts, in combination with the growth capital and resources that THP provides, position Verogen and its customers for long-term success.”
In a letter to Illumina customers, Verogen writes, “Ultimately, Verogen will assume all research, development, technical and commercial responsibilities for the Forensic Genomics business that currently reside with Illumina. Full Verogen operations are expected to commence in 2018. As functions migrate to the new company, Illumina continues to offer transactional support for the forensic business to ensure complete security of supply. New part numbers are not anticipated in 2017, and all of your current Illumina Forensic Genomics products, RUO products and equipment remain unchanged and fully supported.”
In support of the company’s launch, it will have a presence at the International Society of Forensic Genetics (ISFG) held in Seoul, South Korea from August 28 through September 2, and at the International Symposium on Human Identification (ISHI) held in Seattle from October 2-5, as well as at other regional forensic events.