Illumina Inc. (NASDAQ: ILMN), a global leader in DNA sequencing and array-based technologies, today announced the opening of a new office and state-of-the-art Illumina Solutions Center in Bengaluru, India.
Illumina’s expansion comes after 16 years of working closely with the company’s channel partner in India, Premas Life Sciences. Now with its own permanent facility, Illumina will continue to collaborate with Premas to grow the genomics market in India, recognized by the United Nations as the most populous country in the world with more than 1.4 billion people. Expanding access to genomics in this important market will help unlock opportunities for advancing health care and combating the effects of climate change in South Asia.
“Expanding Illumina’s presence in India 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,” said Gretchen Weightman, Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, Illumina. “In our 25th anniversary year, it’s a very exciting time to be growing our physical presence in India to drive access and the further adoption of genomics to transform human health, particularly in oncology and infectious disease.”
Tuberculosis is one infectious disease of concern and a prevalent problem in India. Globally, nearly 500,000 new cases of TB are detected each year, and India accounts for nearly 30% of those cases. Illumina has supported TB surveillance over the last seven years in India through the FIND Seq&Treat project, which aims to increase uptake of next-generation sequencing (NGS) for affordable, scalable, and rapid TB drug-susceptibility testing.
Illumina has also supported initiatives to increase access to sequencing capability in India; this includes philanthropic funding with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation to support COVID-19 surveillance.
Illumina employs over 30 people in India, in sales, operations, marketing, government relations, and human resources, and more hiring is expected as Illumina moves to scale operations there. The business will be led by Abhishek Gupta, Country Manager, India, Illumina. He will be responsible for achieving Illumina’s commercial business objectives in India, spearheading the country’s go-to-market strategy, managing relationships with primary stakeholders and key opinion leaders, and growing customer relationships.
“Abhishek brings vast knowledge and experience to Illumina India, and we look forward to supporting him and the team as they collaborate with and support our customers,” said Weightman. She also emphasized the opportunity the new Solutions Center presents to pursue equitable access and more diverse data: “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.”
The new Illumina Solutions Center features a fully equipped laboratory housing the latest NGS and array technologies, and it is fully resourced with field applications and service engineers to offer Illumina’s partners and customers broad genomics capabilities. The center will support Illumina’s growing number of channel partners in the region by providing training and education to increase local technical expertise and access to genomics.