Oxford Nanopore Technologies Ltd. (Oxford, UK) , a privately held company that is developing a disruptive technology platform for the electronic, label-free analysis of single molecules, on February 1st announced that it has raised $28 million (£17.4 million) in new funding.
The round was funded by existing investors including Lansdowne Partners, IP Group and Invesco Perpetual, new undisclosed US institutions and the Company’s DNA sequencing marketing partner Illumina UK Ltd. The Company has previously raised $51 million (£32 million) since its formation in 2005.
The proceeds will be used for accelerated development of the Company’s proprietary platform technology, which uses real-time electronic measurement of current through small holes (nanopores) to identify molecules of interest as they interact with the nanopore.
In addition to the development of the core platform technology, funding will be directed to the Company’s lead project in DNA sequencing and to start early work in protein analysis. Both projects utilize common elements of this modular platform.
“This new investment recognizes our progress in 2009 and highlights the potential impact of our nanopore-based sensing platform. We are delighted to have strong support from our existing shareholders and this important vote of confidence from new ones,” said Dr Gordon Sanghera, CEO of Oxford Nanopore.
“The common elements of our technology platform are now developed enough to merit exploring new applications. In addition to our lead program in DNA sequencing we are now initiating a project in nanopore protein analysis. This exploits the value of a platform technology; we are aiming to add substantial shareholder value with only incremental investment.”
About Oxford Nanopore Technologies
Oxford Nanopore Technologies Ltd is developing a revolutionary technology for direct, electrical detection and analysis of single molecules. The platform is designed to offer market-disrupting benefits in a variety of applications.
Oxford Nanopore was founded in 2005 on the science of Professor Hagan Bayley of the University of Oxford. The Company has built additional collaborations with world leading nanopore researchers and has a robust IP position for nanopore sensing.
The company’s lead application is DNA sequencing, but the platform is also adaptable for protein analysis for diagnostics and drug development and identification of a range of other molecules for security & defence and environmental monitoring. The technology is modular and highly scalable, driven by electronics rather than optics.
Oxford Nanopore’s first generation of DNA sequencing technology uses a protein nanopore combined with a processive enzyme, multiplexed on a silicon chip. In contrast to current optical DNA sequencing systems, this method is electronic and label-free. This eliminates the need for fluorescent labels and optical hardware for a potential step-change in speed, cost and versatility. Future generations of nanopore sequencing may interrogate single strands of DNA and may use 'solid-state' nanopores for further improvements in speed and cost.
The Company will now start to exploit the modular nature of its nanopore technology platform by exploring its application to protein analysis. Current methods of protein analysis may be complex or expensive and may not deliver all the required information about the analyte.
Technologies typically used in research and in the clinic may include mass spectrometry or immunoassays. The use of nanopores in combination with ligands (molecules that can bind specifically to a site on a target protein) for protein analysis has the potential to provide rich, real-time information to the user.
For more information visit www.nanoporetech.com.