University of Oxford spin-out Oxford Nanopore Technologies raised £25 million (about $41 million) through a fundraising round with new and existing investors from the U.S. and U.K. The firm is developing a nanopore-based technology for sequencing DNA and for protein analysis, and it says the new funds will support further development and external validation of its technology, along with supporting production capabilities. The fundraising means investor IP Group has increased its stake in Oxford Nanopore to 21.5%.
Oxford Nanopore’s GridION technology harnesses protein nanopores on arrays for direct, electrical detection and analysis of a range of analytes at the single-molecule level. The firm is initially developing the platform for both DNA exonuclease sequencing and DNA strand sequencing applications but is also developing a protein-analysis technology using protein nanopores.
The firm’s modular GridION platform technology includes an instrument reader and consumables based on a sensor chip containing multiple microwells. A lipid bilayer is formed over the surface of the well and the modified protein nanopores are introduced into the bilayers. Each well represents a single addressable electronic channel and each nanopore is capable of individual identification of analyte molecules.
Oxford Nanopore is separately developing solid-state nanopores for molecular characterization. To this end the firm recently negotiated exclusive rights to Harvard University’s graphene technology for applications in nucleic acid sequencing. The agreement covers the use of graphene for analyzing DNA and RNA, and it builds on an existing nanopore sensing collaboration between the two organizations.