Phil Schiller, Apple’s marketing chief, is now a director of Illumina, one of the most important companies in gene sequencing.
Illumina has an enormous presence in the life science industry. It makes the machines and develops technology used for genetic testing, and counts companies like 23andMe as customers. It has a market capitalization of $25 billion.
If you’ve had your genes sequenced, in one of those consumer genetic tests like 23andMe for instance, it was most likely on an Illumina machine. 90% of human genetic sequencing takes place on Illumina machines.
Earlier this year, Apple’s ResearchKit platform — which is being explored for uses in drug development — began to support studies that use 23andme genetic information.
“Illumina is like the ruler of this whole universe and no one knows that,” 23andMe’s CEO Anne Wojcicki told Fast Company.
“Phil’s track record and global experience in bringing world-class products to market will help guide us as we continue to develop innovative new solutions for our customers,” Francis deSouza, Illumina president said in a statement.
Apple has health ambitions
Schiller has been with Apple since 1997 and works to define the company’s product lines and strategy. He’s a key advisor to CEO Tim Cook and frequently presents the newest iPhone at Apple keynote presentations.
Apple as a company has a deep interest in health and its Apple Watch is a way to break into the medical world. Apple executives talk about simplifying health care as a major focus and mission — it’s even hired nurses to staff labs to do round-the-clock biometric testing.
“We believe that health is something that is a huge problem in the world, and we think it is ripe for simplicity and a new view, and we’d like to contribute to that,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said at a conference earlier this year.
Apple’s health division reports to Apple COO Jeff Williams, not Schiller. And Schiller joining his first board of directors in the health space could signal an expansion of Apple’s medical ambitions given his product focus.
Previously, Apple was looking to hire a medical privacy specialist who could consult on mergers and acquisitions, and hired the CEO of Sage Bionetworks, which handles much of the consent and back-end functions for Apple’s health software.
Researchers from University College London (UCL) have revealed that slow brain waves that occur during sleep could protect against increased brain excitability in patients living with epilepsy. In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers placed electrodes in 25 patients living with focal epilepsy to localise abnormal activity and inform surgical treatment.
StabiCaps gelatin formulation enhances the release of active ingredients, including medications. In May 2022, the Darling Ingredients brand also received a patent from the European Patent Office for StabiCaps for all major European countries.
In a move to participate in the race for anti-obesity drugs, Swiss pharma giant Roche has agreed to acquire Carmot Therapeutics, a privately owned US company based in Berkeley, California. Carmot’s R&D portfolio includes clinical stage subcutaneous and oral incretins with the potential to treat obesity in patients with and without diabetes, as well as a number of preclinical programs.