Based in San Diego, California, Illumina (ILMN) is a leading biotechnology company. The company provides genetic analysis solutions to genomic research centers, academic institutions, government laboratories, hospitals, and pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and agrigenomic companies. Illumina has a market capitalization of $27.5 billion. Peers such as Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX), Regeneron (REGN), and Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN) have market capitalizations of about $27.4 billion, $55.6 billion, and $36.1 billion, respectively.
Affordable genome sequencing
Illumina was founded in April 1998 and listed on the stock exchange in 2000. Currently a global leader in the genome sequencing market, Illumina launched its first product, Illumina BeadLab, in 2002. According to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), “whole genome sequencing reveals the complete DNA make-up of an organism, enabling us to better understand variations both within and between species.”
Illumina concluded its first major deal in January 2007 when it acquired Solexa. In June 2009, the company launched its Personal Genome Sequencing Service. Originally priced at $48,000 per genome, the company gradually reduced the price to $4,000 in 2011.
In January 2011, Illumina acquired Epicentre Biotechnologies, a company specializing in preparing materials and enzymes required for genome sequencing. The next year, Roche Holding offered to buy Illumina but was rejected.
In 2014, Illumina launched its HiSeq X Ten System, a product offering genome sequencing at $1,000 per genome. With genome sequencing available at substantially lower rates, Illumina can attract more customers and penetrate deeper into the genome sequencing market.
Investors can get diversified exposure to Illumina and avoid company-specific risks by investing in the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB). Illumina accounts for 4.09% of its total holdings.