Oxford Nanopore R&D includes food safety sequencing tech

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

Oxford Nanopore product family
Oxford Nanopore product family
Oxford Nanopore has raised £100m ($140m) to expand its product range including a device for food and water-safety surveillance.

Funds were raised from GIC (Singapore), China Construction Bank International (CCBI), Hostplus (Australia) and existing investors.

R&D on nanopore analysis devices will include high-throughput modular sequencing with PromethION and small, single-test sequencing with Flongle.

Flongle is designed to enable 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.

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.”

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 sites are being opened in Shanghai and San Francisco.

The company behind the MinION portable real-time DNA/RNA sequencer will also use investment to build a manufacturing facility in Oxford to meet demand for its sequencing technology.

The 34,000 square foot facility on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus will increase manufacturing capabilities. It includes high-specification clean rooms, laboratories, office space and logistics areas.

Dr Gordon Sanghera, CEO at Oxford Nanopore, said 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," ​he said.

“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.”

Theresa May, UK Prime Minister, 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.”

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