Two Pore Guys raises $24M+ for handheld nanopore diagnostic tool

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While Oxford Nanopore, which markets the world's only portable DNA sequencer, uses a biological nanopore, Two Pore Guys' technology uses solid-state, or synthetic, nanopores.

Two Pore Guys closed a $24.5 million Series A round, which will boost the manufacturing of the company’s hand-held testing system, as well as further develop its nanopore technology for whole genome sequencing and genome mapping.

Santa Cruz, California-based Two Pore Guys likens its device to a blood glucose monitor. It uses disposable test strips, but can be used to detect “virtually any kind of molecule” as accurately as a medical lab, the company said. Khosla Ventures led the financing.

Nanopores are tiny holes traditionally created in membranes using a pore-forming protein, such as MspA, a porin created by Mycobacteria, which Illumina uses in its nanopore sequencing. Nanopore technology works by measuring the change in electrical current as a molecule—DNA for example—passes through a pore.

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Two Pore Guys’ device is based on solid-state nanopores, or nanopores that are created in synthetic materials. It then wirelessly transmits data to “authorized systems and cloud infrastructures,” facilitating its use in clinical trials, the monitoring of pathogens and disease and telemedicine, the company said in a statement.

“The company has begun collaborating with companies across multiple markets that plan to develop tests for the platform, similar to how software developers make apps for smartphones,” Two Pore Guys said in the statement. Third parties will create specific assays for individual molecules to be run on the device, while Two Pore Guys will manufacture the devices and test strips carrying the reagents developed by third parties.

The company envisions a range of uses for the device, including human and animal diagnostics, agriculture, food safety testing, environmental monitoring, regulatory uses and defense, according to the statement.

Oxford Nanopore pulled in a $126 million private placement last December, to expand sales and marketing of its portable DNA sequencer. While it is unclear which pore the British upstart uses in its sequencing technology, Illumina filed a patent suit in February last year claiming it owns IP covering the tech used in Oxford Nanopore’s products. Oxford Nanopore brushed off the suit as “without merit.”

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