Illumina Inc. (NASDAQ: ILMN), a pioneering force in DNA sequencing and array-based technologies, has announced a significant milestone in its journey toward global genomics leadership. The company has inaugurated its new office and state-of-the-art Illumina Solutions Center in Bengaluru, India, marking a new era of collaboration, innovation, and advancement in the field of genomics. This expansion, following 16 years of partnership with its Indian channel partner, Premas Life Sciences, brings Illumina closer to its vision of democratizing genomics and driving healthcare transformation in one of the world’s most populous countries.
Illumina’s entry into the Indian market is set against a flourishing biotech ecosystem with a skilled workforce, robust research and development resources, and favorable government policies. The company’s senior executives and leaders from Premas Life Sciences cut the ribbon at the inauguration, symbolizing a strategic partnership that has been instrumental in this journey.
“This expansion,” stated Gretchen Weightman, Senior Vice President of Asia-Pacific, Middle East & Africa at Illumina, “allows the company to collaborate and be part of a vibrant biotech ecosystem with skilled labor, strong research and development resources, and supportive government policies.”
India, recognized as the world’s most populous country with over 1.4 billion people, holds immense potential for the growth of the genomics market. This expansion aligns with Illumina’s commitment to expanding access to genomics, thereby unlocking opportunities for advancing healthcare and addressing global challenges, such as climate change.
The Indian healthcare landscape faces its share of challenges, with infectious diseases like tuberculosis (TB) being of particular concern. With nearly 30% of global TB cases in India, addressing this issue is paramount. Illumina’s presence has already contributed to TB surveillance through projects like FIND Seq&Treat, focusing on affordable, scalable, and rapid TB drug-susceptibility testing using next-generation sequencing (NGS).
Furthermore, the ongoing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic has seen Illumina increase access to sequencing capabilities in India. Collaborations with philanthropic foundations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation have enabled the support of COVID-19 surveillance efforts, showcasing Illumina’s commitment to tackling pressing global challenges.
Illumina’s expansion is not just about establishing a physical presence; it’s about embracing diversity and promoting equitable access to genomics. This is evident in Gretchen Weightman’s statement: “Democratizing genomics and making it available to the many and not just the few will take a collaborative approach. We must better reflect diversity in genomic data and drive awareness for, access to, and adoption of genomic technologies through partnership.”
Central to this expansion is the state-of-the-art Illumina Solutions Center. This center, equipped with cutting-edge technologies for next-generation sequencing (NGS) and array-based analyses, will be a hub for innovation, research, and training. The center’s fully equipped laboratory, staffed with field applications and service engineers, will support Illumina’s growing number of channel partners in the region and enhance local technical expertise and accessibility to genomics education.
In 2023, as Illumina celebrates 25 years of innovation, the expansion into India is a testament to the company’s journey and vision. From its early days as a global leader in DNA sequencing to its current position as a transformative force in genomics, Illumina’s legacy is deeply intertwined with pushing the boundaries of science and healthcare.
With its renewed commitment to advancing healthcare, fostering collaboration, and embracing diversity, Illumina’s presence in India promises to accelerate genomics-driven innovations, enabling groundbreaking discoveries and improving human health for years to come.
Image provided by Illumina Inc.