Illumina announced plans with Telegraph Hill Partners (THP), a San Francisco-based venture capital and growth equity firm, to establish Verogen. The independent new company has certain exclusive rights to provide Illumina’s forensic sequencing technology to forensic customers, including for criminal casework and other human and nonhuman forensic applications. The creation of Verogen enables an unprecedented focus on accelerating growth of Illumina’s leading next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology in the forensic genomics market.
Illumina will continue to manufacture the MiSeq FGx Instrument and core sequencing consumables. During a short transition period, Illumina will provide products, sales and marketing, and service and support to forensic customers while forensic staff and infrastructure transition to the Verogen business. The companies, together in partnership, assure a smooth transition and experience for customers.
“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, Vice President, New and Emerging Markets at Illumina. “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.”
The MiSeq FGx Forensic Genomics System has been deployed in operational crime laboratories, private service labs, and forensic research institutes worldwide. Significant gains toward the implementation of the system into routine forensic casework were made in 2016 and the earliest adopters are expected to go live this year.
“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.”
Verogen is headquartered in the San Diego area. It will be the sole provider of the MiSeq FGx Forensic Genomics System, including the MiSeq FGx sequencer, ForenSeq DNA Signature Prep Kit, and the ForenSeq Universal Analysis Software, and has global commercial rights to these products. The Company is committed to the robust, reliable, and continuous sale and support of these products and of other Illumina products to forensic labs, as well as to participation within the global forensic community to operationalize NGS in routine forensic genomics.
Kirk Malloy has been named Chief Executive Officer of Verogen. Malloy was an executive at Illumina for 13 years, most recently as Senior Vice President for Applied Genomics until April 2016. Cydne Holt will serve as General Manager and Chief Scientific Officer of Verogen. Holt previously managed forensic genomics at Illumina.
“Forensic customers have unique requirements and I look forward to working with them to provide the best NGS solutions for their applications,” said Malloy. “We feel we can best serve this growing market by having a singular focus and forensic-specific functionality.”