At the west end of University Research Park on Madison’s West Side, workers brew a potion with a powerful purpose.
Their flasks and tanks resemble those at breweries, but these workers aren’t fermenting yeast to make beer. They’re using harmless strains of E.coli bacteria to grow enzymes for genome sequencing.
San Diego-based Illumina has a major share of the global DNA sequencing market, and the company’s manufacturing center in Madison makes enzymes — proteins that speed up chemical reactions — to run its sequencing machines. With 180 employees, the hub also produces what is called “library prep,” or kits to prepare blood or saliva samples for sequencing.