Accelerators targeting biotech companies

Steven Loeb · September 14, 2017 · Short URL:

They include Illumina Accelerator, Indie Bio and Central New York Biotech Accelerator

For startups, there are numerous paths for getting their name out there. One way, which Vator has been covering recently, are startup competitions, but another popular method to get a foot in the door, as well as some funding and traction, are accelerators. These are programs that provide companies advice, guidance and various forms of support for startups in their early stages. They also often invest in the companies, for a certain equity stake.

Need a list of startup competitions, challenges, accelerators, etc. from around the world? Check out VatorX. You can find them, or list yours!

There are some very well-known accelerators out there, including Y Combinator and 500 Startups, which have made their names through various successful alumni. Those programs fairly general, accepting companies from a variety of different spaces. 

For some companies, it may help to join an accelerator that only focuses on their specific area. That's especially true for those in more specialized spaces, which will have their own unique challenges and regulations.

Here are some of the accelerators that are focused specifically on mentoring companies in the genomics/biotech space:



"At Illumina, we’re committed to unlocking the power of the genome, and we know we can’t do it alone. Illumina Accelerator is our way of accelerating innovation in the entrepreneurial community. With extensive mentorship, financial support, and access to sequencing systems, reagents, and lab space, we are building a dynamic ecosystem to help genomics startups launch in the San Francisco Bay Area. Together, we'll advance breakthrough applications in genomics, including therapeutics, diagnostics, agriculture, synthetic biology, forensics, and direct-to-consumer applications."

Investment amount: Through our partners, we provide access to seed investment through accredited angel investors through a convertible note. Additionally, through the $40 million Illumina Accelerator Boost Capital, our partners at Viking Global Investors will invest dollar-for-dollar match funding in each of our startups that raise between $1 million and $5 million of qualifying capital.

Program benefits: 

  • Sequencing: While at Illumina Accelerator, our startups have access to Illumina sequencing systems and reagents, genomics experts, a subscription to BaseSpace Correlation Engine and BaseSpace Cohort Analyzer, and access to BaseSpace Clarity LIMS software.
  • Coaching: We provide our startups with high quality business guidance and expertise to help guide your go-to-market strategy, financing strategy, team building, and beyond.
  • Facility: Our startups have access to fully equipped lab and office space in the San Francisco Bay Area so they can begin experiments on day one.

Portfolio companies: Biome Makers, Naked Biome, Mantra Bio, Haystack Sciences


Accelerating Biology

"The World’s Largest Seed Biotech Accelerator"

Investment amount: The investment is broken into two parts. The first is a share purchase agreement of 8% for taking part in the program and a $250,000 investment (Accelerator Contract for Equity (“ACE”) at $3 million dollar valuation cap for a total package valued at $250k ($200k in Cash) in funding.

Program benefits: A lab and co-working space, dedicated mentorship, and become part of a huge network of IndieBio alumni, investors, biotech entrepreneurs, investors, press, corporate partners, and more.

We have a fully equipped biosafety level 1 and 2 lab on site and accessible 24/7. It’s high density with world-class scientists, and many teams have had fundamental breakthroughs due to problem-solving and working with other scientists in their class. We also have a large network of facilities and institutions in the Bay Area that can lend teams equipment and expertise as needed.

Mentor makeup: Brian Naughton, Andrea Wong, George Church

Portfolio companies: aBioBot, Amino Labs, Circularis, Extem, Jungla, Scaled Biolabs


The Global BioAccelerator Initiative

"RebelBio is a startup accelerator which focuses on entrepreneurs building technologies in or around the field of Biotech.

We offer seed funding, lab space, world-class mentorship, inspiring peers, and a community of successful and diverse founders from all sectors."

Investment amount: You will receive investment of $100,000 for just 8% equity in your biotech startup and you will have a world leading VC on your cap table to assist in getting follow on investment, . This investment comprises of $50,000 in cash, which can be spent on the company as you see fit and $50,000 in programme costs which will cover all the awesome resources provided by RebelBio over the course of the programme. These resources include BSL-2 Facility, access to world class mentorship and the potential access to follow on investment via RebelBio exposure and events.

Post program companies can access a further 25k at an uncapped valuation if they meet the criteria for follow on.

Program benefits: You get to access great perks such as access to RebelBio partners’ services to set up a company, have all your legal and IP questions answered, co-working spaces and much more. You’ll get early exposure to vetted investors and invaluable opportunities to make lasting business connections, receive mentorship and pitch training to take you further faster.

Mentor makeup: Alan Clayton, Edward Perello, Isha Datar, Karmela Haynes, Sean O'Sullivan, Sean Wad, Thomas Landrain, Kim De Mora

Portfolio companies: Hyasynth, Afineur, Ageria, Biocellection, Glowdx, Pili


Y Combinator

"A revolution is happening in life sciences. As cost and cycle time continue to decrease for biotech, it’s becoming easier for small, entrepreneurial teams to build companies that have the potential to improve human life across the globe.

We want to enable scientists and inventors to bring their work to market."

Investment amount: We'll invest $120k in return for 7% of the company's equity. While we may deviate from this in exceptional cases, it will still be the case for almost all of the companies we fund.

Program benefits: Y Combinator provides founders with seed funding, access to a growing community of biotech founders and investors, and a network of experienced partners who support our startups throughout their lifecycle.

During YC’s three month cycle, our partners work closely with founders to get their companies in the best shape possible. For some companies that may be an end product, for others a meaningful and ambitious milestone.

We help all companies optimize and scale their processes, connect them to potential customers and help founders figure out how best to communicate the scale and importance of what they’re doing to investors.

Each cycle culminates on Demo Day, when all startups in the batch present their work to an invite-only audience of investors and press.

Portfolio companies: Transcriptic, Gingko Bioworks, Atomwise, Bikanta, µBiome


"Central New York Biotech Accelerator (CNYBAC) is a 60,000 square foot  facility offering wet labs, services, mentorship and education to companies involved in the commercialization of biotech innovation."

Investment amount: Not specified

Program benefits: CNYBAC provides access to shared equipment thanks to a grant from SUNY College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry.  Clients wishing to utilize shared equipment pay a $75.00 monthly fee – the monthly fee helps to cover maintenance costs.  

Mentor makeup: Sarah Attwood, Edward Bogucz, Leah Caldwell, Albert Di Rienzo, Kathi Durdon


Accelerator Logo

"Accelerator is a biotechnology investment and management company with offices in New York City and Seattle. Through our consortium of top-tier investors, team of scientific thought leaders and executive managers, we identify, finance and manage the development of emerging biotechnology opportunities."

Investment amount: Not specified

Program benefits: 

  • Common areas
  • Our researchers have access to an impressive array of high-level equipment, both at their bench and in shared core facilities to be able to run experiments on day one. Some of the available core facility technology includes: microscopy and cytometry, microarray, sequencing and PCR, vivariums, proteomics tools and pilot scale vaccine production Accelerator provides cutting-edge meeting room space fit for any boardroom.
  • With plenty of seating for a mid-cap company, our meeting rooms provide digital output connections, telephone dial-in services and streaming options for scientific presentations.
  • Move-in ready and flexible, Accelerator’s modern laboratory space is designed to facilitate research across virtually any life science discipline. Individual laboratory space “suites” give each of our portfolio companies independence, with the support of Accelerator’s advisory board and shared facilities.

Portfolio companies: Oncofactor, Xori, Recodagen, Seredigm, Allozyne


HardTech Labs

"HardTech Labs is an investment fund managing a novel early-stage applied science accelerator.  This is unique model – providing the right amount of capital at the right time in the evolution of the company combined with meaningful support for a significant period of time is perfectly suited for health, wellness and agriculture. We catalyze commercially viable, life-changing intellectual property through our startups.

We combine biotech, software, and hardware to build comprehensive platforms tackling the full spectrum of a particular problem. We fund companies whose founders have taken visionary and potentially transformative ideas and have developed them into scientifically valid products: a proven concept, consistent data, and a supporting team of entrepreneurs and researchers."

Investment amount: Not specified

Program benefits: Selected companies reside in a co-working space with integrated hardware prototyping and biotech wet labs ­­– an off-campus working space similar to the open enquiry environment of academia, but focused on developing commercial potential outside the control of the institutional environment. We help develop the business skills that entrepreneurs need to gain traction and expand and connect companies to partner service providers for legal, regulatory, finance, HR and other higher-level corporate functions. Our multi-disciplinary, applied science accelerator gives companies and researchers the support they need to translate research to commercially viable companies.with bespoke co-working/lab spaces.

Portfolio companies: None listed


Accel-rx logo

"As Canada’s health innovation accelerator, we give health science start-ups the support they need to turn promising therapeutic discoveries into life-changing treatments."

Investment amount: Accel-Rx, and founding partner, BDC Capital, provide up to $1M in funding which is further matched by third-party investors. Supporting capital financing needs is just one part of the solution – Accel-Rx also offers a full range of programs to address early-stage operating needs including mentorship, business services, training, and networking.

Program benefits: In addition to providing a capital investment, Accel-Rx works directly with each company to refine its business plan, help build the right team, and provide key connections to potential partners and investors.

Portfolio companies: ScarX Therapeutics, SpecificiT Pharma, Zucara

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