Oxford Nanopore has secured $66m from Amgen, after the latter’s subsidiary Decode Genetics used the spinout’s technology to sequence hundreds of human genomes.
Oxford Nanopore Technologies, a UK-based sequencing technology spinout of University of Oxford, raised $66m from pharmaceutical firm Amgen today that brought its latest round to $206m.
The spinout had raised an initial $140m in March this year from GIC, the sovereign wealth fund of Singapore, Australian superannuation fund Hostplus, financial services firm China Construction Bank and unnamed, existing investors.
Founded in 2005, Oxford Nanopore has created real-time, low-cost DNA and RNA sequencing technology. The technology has applications in large-scale human genomics, cancer research, microbiology, plant science and environmental research.
The spinout’s products include the portable Minion, the desktop version Gridion X5 and the large-scale Promethion, the latter of which is able to sequence the human genome for less than $1,000.
The technology commercialises research by Hagan Bayley, professor of chemical biology at University of Oxford. Since 2008, the spinout has also been collaborating with researchers at Harvard University, Boston University and University of California, Santa Cruz.
Amgen’s investment follows its genomics subsidiary Decode Genetics using Oxford Nanopore’s technology to sequence several hundred human genomes.
Oxford Nanopore has now raised a total of £501m ($656m) in equity funding.
The spinout previously closed a $126m funding round in 2016 that featured commercialisation firm IP Group and was led by investment fund GT Healthcare. Woodford Investment Management and unnamed new and existing backers also participated.
IP Group had already taken part in a $107m funding round in 2015 that also included several undisclosed investors.
Oxford Nanopore’s shareholders also include genomics company Illumina, which invested $18m in 2009, as well as Odey Asset Management, Invesco Perpetual, Top Technology Ventures and Lansdowne Partners.
Alan Aubrey, chief executive of IP Group, said: “Amgen is a world leader in using genetic data to inform drug discovery so it is encouraging to hear how Oxford Nanopore’s technology is helping enable this.
“This investment is a tremendous validation of nanopore sequencing and reflects the significant progress that has been made by Oxford Nanopore over the last year.”