New Illumina CTO, Q2 Updates

August 9, 2023

By Bio-IT World Staff

August 9, 2023 | Illumina today announced that Alex Aravanis, CTO, has departed Illumina to pursue an opportunity outside of the company effective immediately. In his place, Steven Barnard, Illumina's Vice President and Head of Global Advanced Science, will serve as its next Chief Technology Officer (CTO).

The sequencing pioneer has had an eventful summer. Francis deSouza, Illumina's Chief Executive Officer and a Director, resigned in June. In July, the company launched both the newest version of DRAGEN as well as an Alliance for Genomic Discovery, and was met with $432 million in fines from the European Commission. Illumina is appealing that fine on the grounds that the European Commission has no jurisdiction to review the GRAIL acquisition.

In its second quarter earnings report, also released today, Illumina reported second quarter consolidated revenue (Illumina’s core business plus GRAIL) growth of 8% sequentially from the first quarter, and higher-than-anticipated NovaSeq X shipments: 109 instruments in Q2. The company is predicting fiscal year 2023 Core Illumina revenue to be approximately flat with 2022.

CTO from Within

Seven Barnard, Illumina’s new CTO, joined the company in 1998 as its first scientist and fourth employee, holding a variety of leadership positions within Illumina's R&D organization throughout his distinguished 25-year tenure. Through critical roles in research and technology development, Barnard contributed significantly to maturing Illumina's foundational science technologies including synthetic chemistry, protein engineering, surface science, assay research and nanofabrication. He holds more than 100 patents globally and has been published in diverse, industry-leading scientific journals, such as Analytical ChemistryNatureScience, and Genome Research.

As Vice President and Head of Global Advanced Science, Barnard played an integral role in advancing Illumina's industry-leading products, including the launch of the NovaSeq X series. His profound understanding of Illumina's core technologies will allow him to step into this role and continue to improve R&D productivity and efficiency, as well as drive shareholder value.

"Steve is the consummate innovator, leading many of Illumina's most important technical development projects over the last 25 years. He brings expansive institutional knowledge of our entire technology portfolio and will help Illumina continue to deliver on its important mission," said Charles Dadswell, Interim Chief Executive Officer at Illumina, in the announcement. "I'd also like to thank Alex for his leadership, advancing our industry-leading innovations, and wish him every success in the future."