Illumina’s Growth Strategy Includes Whole Genome Sequencing for Consumers

There are three types of genetic testing:

  • Genotyping – tests only a prespecified list of genetic variants, which are known to be tied to certain traits or certain diseases. Test costs are usually in the $100-$200 range.
  • Population Genomics – testing goes beyond genotyping and looks at the exome, which is the universe of genes encoded for specific proteins in the body. This testing may play a role in identifying the majority of genetic mutations that play a role in human disease. Test costs are often around $300.
  • Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) – the process of mapping each of the 6.4 billion individual letters into a database. This technology has advanced enough for consumer adoption. Test costs are often around $500.

Illumina has around 75% of the WGS market, a major reason why the FTC recently blocked its acquisition of Pacific Biosciences, alleging the acquisition would eliminate “a nascent competitive threat” to Illumina’s monopoly in deciphering genetic material.

Illumina has quickly moved on from this setback as it stated that the company expects to see very strong growth in 2020. Total sequencing is expected to grow at around 14%, and sequencing consumables are expected to grow at 17%. Illumina supports about 6,600 sequencing customers in 115 countries through its global network of 17 distribution and commercial centers.

Illumina sees the value of genomic testing growing and consumer adoption at its  beginning stage. Ilumina plans to enable clinical care teams to turn millions of variants into an answer, making it easier for genetic disease patients to benefit from valuable genomic insights, especially in oncology.

Illumina’s growth strategy includes leveraging partners’ commercial footprints to broaden channel reach, working together to expand coverage and reimbursement and collaborating to give doctors and patients more opportunities to learn about genomics.

In-vitro device (IVD) partnerships are a key enabler of Illumina’s clinical strategy and the company’s recent partnership announcement with Roche will play a key role in its growth. Roche is one of the world’s leading diagnostic companies to accelerate the adoption of distributable NGS-based testing in oncology.

Roche will leverage its broad commercial reach into pathology and clinical labs and robust portfolio of oncology diagnostics and therapeutics to help expand lab, clinician and patient access to critical NGS diagnostic tests on Illumina’s Dx platforms.

By partnering closely, Illumina expects to accelerate the demand for NGS-based tests in pursuit of its shared goal of enabling as many cancer patients as possible to have access to these potentially life-impacting IVD tests and therapies.


Takeaway: Illumina’s growth strategy includes leveraging partners’ commercial footprints to broaden channel reach.