Investing in nanopore technology

OxfordUniversity spinout Oxford NanoLabs has completed a £10m financing round through intellectual property commercialisation company IP Group.

Oxford NanoLabs, founded in 2005, is developing nanopore technology for use in DNA sequencing, where it potentially offers significant advantages in cost and speed over existing technologies.

Following completion of the financing round, IP Group has a 35 per cent stake in Oxford NanoLabs, valued at £19.5m. IP Group has invested £1m in the financing alongside investment of £1.4m from funds managed by its subsidiary Top Technology Ventures. The remaining £7.6m was raised from institutional and private investors.

Oxford NanoLabs’ nanopore-based DNA analysis has the potential to measure single molecules without the need for chemical labels, avoiding the use of expensive reagents and time-consuming amplification steps. Direct electrical measurement of the DNA sequence allows simpler instrumentation and data processing.

The company’s proprietary BASE technology is being developed to use nanopores to process, identify and record DNA bases in sequence. As each base is passed sequentially through the nanopore, it binds transiently to a site within the nanopore. During binding each base generates a characteristic reduction of the electrical current through the nanopore, allowing for direct recording of the signal and simple data processing.