Oxford Nanopore raises $109M ahead of key period for its sequencing technology

Oxford Nanopore has added $109 million to its bank account, bringing the total raised to date up to $392 million and equipping the company for a vital period in its history. Having toiled for a decade to make the electronic analysis of single molecules ready for the mainstream, the company is now trying to take on the big beasts of genome sequencing.

The Oxford, United Kingdom-based business wrapped up the fundraising round shortly after starting an early-access program for PromethION, the device it hopes will make it a major player in the world of genomics. Some of the cash will go toward stepping up manufacturing and commercial activities, while another two tranches are earmarked for improvements to existing products and the development of new offerings. As it stands, Oxford Nanopore's pocket-sized sequencer is MinION is available commercially and a pair of larger-scale products are making their way toward the market.

PromethION is the nearest to commercialization. Members of the MinION Access Programme can now sign up to get hold of PromethION before it officially comes to market. For a payment of $24,000 and a $75,000 deposit, members of the PromethION Early Access Programme will get hold of a benchtop device that moves Oxford Nanopore into markets fought over by Illumina ($ILMN) and Pacific Biosciences ($PACB). PromethION is made up of 48 flow cells and on-board computing, a mix that allows it to deliver real-time, high-throughput analyses.

Oxford Nanopore's portfolio is built around the idea of measuring changes in electrical current as a strand of DNA or other material passes through a nano-scale hole. The company started out with a small but distinctive device, its pocket-sized MinION sequencer, but is scaling up its ambitions. Following PromethION down the development pipeline is GridION, Oxford Nanopore's vision for how its technology can be scaled up.

- read the release
- here's Bio-IT World's take

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