Illumina Expands East, Opening ‘Solutions Center’ in Baltimore

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801 W. Baltimore Street is home to an Illumina Solutions Center, the sequencing giant's first facility to open on the East Coast. [University of Maryland BioPark]

Illumina said today it has opened its first commercial location on the East Coast, within the University of Maryland (UM) BioPark in Baltimore.

The Illumina Solutions Center is designed to provide training lab capabilities and office space for customers and commercial teams within its 13,000 square feet at 801 W. Baltimore St. The center is expected to host hundreds of employees and customers each year.

“We are inspired by all the ways genomics can stimulate economic activity to maximize impact in the region and fuel research with the potential to improve health outcomes for patients,” Mark Van Oene, Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer for Illumina, said in a statement.

“Our team is excited for the opportunity to inhabit the UM BioPark and to build upon our strong working relationship with the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Institute for Genome Sciences and its Director, Claire Fraser, PhD,” Van Oene added. “We believe this will facilitate collaborative engagement in research activities with our academic partner, University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB).”

Illumina operates two Solutions Centers in Europe, in Cambridge, UK, and Paris. The centers have offered sessions that introduced participants to next-generation sequencing (NGS) and its applications in DNA and RNA analysis; detection of somatic variants in solid tumors using AmpliSeq for Illumina Cancer Hotspot Panel v2; and iSeq 100 system installation and instrument operations.

The new center in Baltimore is Illumina’s fourth U.S. location. The sequencing giant is headquartered in San Diego, with additional commercial offices in Madison, WI, and Foster City, CA; and manufacturing and R&D operations about 20 minutes northeast of Foster City in Hayward, CA.

Illumina’s expansion to Baltimore is the latest success enjoyed by regional life sciences advocates and stakeholders working in recent years to expand the industry. Maryland is part of the BioHealth Capital Region, which has committed to growing the Maryland / Virginia / Washington, D.C. region into a top-three cluster by 2023. The region ranked fourth in last year’s GEN’s A-List of Top 10 U.S. Biopharma Clusters; an updated list is planned for this fall.

“The decision to choose the UM BioPark for Illumina’s first East Coast location is testament to the strong innovation cluster in Baltimore City and in Maryland,” Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly M. Schulz stated. “I look forward to seeing the results of this collaboration between industry, academia, and community.”

801 W. Baltimore St. is a six-story, 238,000-square-foot building owned by Ventas, a Chicago-based life sciences real estate investment trust (REIT). The building is part of Wexford’s Knowledge Community development at the UM BioPark.

Wexford is now designing its newest building in the BioPark, a 330,000-square-foot lab and office building set for completion in 2021 The 14-acre UM BioPark, home to more than 40 companies, is located adjacent to the UMB campus.

“Attracting Illumina, a premier life sciences company, to the BioPark reinforces the value of combining university research, entrepreneurial activity, corporate engagement, and community development in a dense, collaborative, programmed environment,” added Wexford Science & Technology CEO Jim Berens.

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