Oxford Nanopore Technologies Ltd said March 20 that it collected funding in the amount of $100 million pounds ($140 million). Participants included GIC (Singapore), China Construction Bank International (CCBI, China), Hostplus (Australia), and existing investors. Oxford Nanopore, of the U.K., provides the technology behind DNA/RNA sequencer, MinION.
OXFORD, England–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Oxford Nanopore Technologies Ltd, the company behind the only portable real-time DNA/RNA sequencer, MinION, has raised £100M ($140M) in new investment. Funds were raised from global investors including GIC (Singapore), China Construction Bank International (CCBI, China), Hostplus (Australia), and existing investors.
The funds will be used to support the Company’s next phase of commercial expansion. This includes a new high-volume, high-tech manufacturing facility in Oxford to meet accelerating demand for Oxford Nanopore’s sequencing technology, and growth of the commercial team that already serves more than 70 countries.
The funds raised will also support R&D as Oxford Nanopore expands its suite of nanopore analysis devices. The currently available pocket MinION and desktop GridION are being joined by high-throughput modular sequencing with PromethION and small, single-test sequencing with Flongle.
This expanded range is designed to address all parts of the existing DNA-sequencing market, as well as enabling new applications that can only be performed with a real-time, scalable, long-read technology. For example, Flongle is designed to enable the rapid real-time genetic analysis of infectious diseases, targeted analyses in precision medicine, food and/or water-safety surveillance, and science education. PromethION will enable large-scale, on-demand sequencing of human, plant, or animal genomes.
Oxford Nanopore technology also uniquely enables direct RNA sequencing, providing full-length transcript and viral genome profiling, precise quantification, the ability to identify modified bases in real time, and simplifying workflows.
Dr Gordon Sanghera, CEO, Oxford Nanopore, said: ‘Our business is moving quickly, from personal sequencers into high-end sequencing and distributed analyses. In recent weeks, both Oxford Nanopore and our customers have shown very high yields of data from PromethION Flow Cells, demonstrating low-cost long-read nanopore sequencing at large scale. Meanwhile, we are driving a change in how scientists and industries access DNA information, by introducing smaller, accessible, low-cost formats, including our forthcoming smartphone sequencer SmidgION. Our investors are ambitious and support our long-term vision: to enable the analysis of any living thing, by anyone, anywhere.
‘We would also like to thank the innovative community of nanopore users, who have been instrumental in driving new uses for our products.’
Theresa May, Prime Minister of the UK, said: ‘I’m pleased that such a pioneering British business has obtained the investment they need to grow, creating thousands more jobs and continuing ground-breaking research in this field here in the UK.
‘Through our modern Industrial Strategy we are making sure that Britain remains the natural choice for innovative firms to prosper – investing in the future of our country.’
Bryan Yeo, Chief Investment Officer of Public Equities at GIC, said: ‘Oxford Nanopore has a unique business model of providing accessible, real-time DNA-analysis technologies that can be applied to pocket-sized or industrial installations. We believe this will continue to drive growth in their user base as well as in new applications for DNA- or RNA-sequencing. This investment reflects our confidence in the global demand outlook for DNA information across many industries over the long term.’
A CCBI spokesperson said ‘Our investment into Oxford Nanopore reflects our view that the high-growth sectors such as DNA sequencing have a promising future and is also underpinned by our strong belief that sequencing technology has the huge potential to enable new applications across life science research, healthcare, food and other industries in China. Following the global industrial development trend, CCBI will continue to focus its strategic investment on new economy sectors including biotechnology and AI, etc.’
David Elia, CEO of Hostplus said: ‘We are excited by the possibilities of Oxford Nanopore technology to develop new applied markets and to revolutionise testing. This could be in oncology, infectious disease, reproductive health and blood screening.’
Oxford Nanopore is headquartered in the UK (Oxford and Cambridge) with a commercial presence in New York, Cambridge (US), China, Japan, France, and Germany. New headquarters recently opened in Oxford and new operations are now being opened in Shanghai and San Francisco.
Oxford Nanopore also announces the forthcoming construction of a new bespoke 34,000sqft manufacturing facility on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus. This new facility represents a significant increase in Oxford Nanopore’s manufacturing capabilities, replicating and growing the manufacturing processes developed over the years within the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) environment. Including high-specification clean rooms, laboratories, office space, and logistics areas, the new addition to Oxford Nanopore’s operations will be used to manufacture and distribute our DNA/RNA sequencing products in one purpose-built facility. This facility has been made possible through the continued support of the STFC at Harwell, the use of the high-tech facilities managed by the Innovations Technology Access Centre (ITAC), and working with the Harwell Campus Joint Venture team.
Note: The placement of ordinary shares in the Company under this fundraising does not constitute an offer of the Company’s shares to the public. No shares in the Company will be offered or sold to any person except in circumstances which have not resulted and will not result in an offer to the public.
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About Oxford Nanopore
Oxford Nanopore Technologies Ltd has developed the world’s only portable, real-time DNA/RNA sequencer. The company is headquartered in Oxford, UK, with expanding global operations.
The MinION is a portable, real-time, long-read, low-cost device that has been designed to bring easy biological analyses to anyone, whether in scientific research or a range of real-world applications such as disease/pathogen surveillance, environmental monitoring, food-chain surveillance, self-quantification, or even microgravity biology. Commercially available since 2015, the MinION is in use by a thriving community of scientists in more than 70 countries, where it is enabling myriad applications within the traditional laboratory environment and in the field.
Nanopore sequencing technology is fully scalable. The GridION X5 is a desktop device that includes compute module and the ability to run up to five MinION Flow Cells. The high-throughput, high-sample-number PromethION has now been released in the PromethION Early Access Programme (PEAP).
PromethION is nearly 300 times more powerful than the MinION, but modular and on-demand. In early 2018, Oxford Nanopore is producing more than 150Gb per PromethION Flow Cell; – PromethION is designed to run up to 48 Flow Cells. Customers are producing 70–100Gb per PromethION Flow Cell using clinical samples and plant samples as well as test samples. This shows that PromethION can deliver a sub-$1,000 human genome on long-read nanopore data alone.
Oxford Nanopore aims to make DNA-based analyses easy enough for any user and so we are focused on simple sample preparation and data-analysis processes. For sample preparation, this includes a 5–10-minute sample prep kit and VolTRAX, a rapid, programmable, automated USB sample-preparation device designed to prepare DNA for addition to a nanopore sequencing device. The Company is also developing a single-test nanopore sequencing adapter for MinION (Flongle) and a smartphone sequencer, SmidgION.
GIC is a leading global investment firm established in 1981 to manage Singapore’s foreign reserves. A disciplined long-term value investor, GIC is uniquely positioned for investments across a wide range of asset classes, including equities, fixed income, private equity, real estate, and infrastructure. GIC has investments in over 40 countries and has been investing in emerging markets for more than two decades. Headquartered in Singapore, GIC employs over 1,400 people across 10 offices in key financial cities worldwide. For more information about GIC, please visit www.gic.com.sg.
CCB International (Holdings) Limited (“CCBI”) is a financial and investment services company owned by China Construction Bank (“CCB”). Apart from its home base on the mainland and its headquarter in Hong Kong, CCBI manages its subsidiaries in the world financial centres such as New York, Singapore, and London, backed up by the CCB global network. CCBI provides a comprehensive financial and investment services value chain that offers a full range of products and services including sponsoring and underwriting, corporate mergers and acquisitions, refinancing for listed companies, direct investment, asset management, securities brokerage, market research, futures and commodities business.
Hostplus is the national superannuation fund for those who live and love Australian hospitality, tourism, recreation, and sport. The Australian Hotels Association and United Voice jointly established the fund in 1987. Hostplus is one of the largest in the country with over one million members, 168,000 employers and AU$30 billion in funds under management.