Oxford Nanopore rounds up $28M to back sequencing tech

The U.K.'s Oxford Nanopore has raised $28 million in new venture funds to fuel its quest to create a far cheaper template for full human genome sequencing. The company is one of several groups racing to develop the technology needed to get the cost of sequencing a genome down to $1,000 or less--one of the Holy Grails of the personalized medicine movement.

Lansdowne Partners, IP Group and Invesco Perpetual all chipped in cash, along with new undisclosed U.S. investors and the company's DNA sequencing marketing partner, Illumina U.K. San Diego-based Illumina made an $18 million equity investment in the sequencing company a year ago when the two companies announced a strategic marketing alliance.

"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," says 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." 

Oxford Nanopore is one of several tech companies that are making headlines by bringing down the price of sequencing. Complete Genomics, Pacific Biosciences and Helicos Biosciences have all been raising cash to back the roll out of third-gen sequencing tech.

- here's the Oxford Nanopore release

ALSO: Pearl Therapeutics, which is developing combo therapies for chronic respiratory illnesses, announced a $15 million round from existing investors Clarus Ventures, New Leaf Venture Partners and 5AM Ventures. Release

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