The spinout, which has developed a portable real-time DNA and RNA sequencer, has attracted $140m in funding from investors including GIC, China Construction Bank and Hostplus.

Oxford Nanopore Technologies, a UK-based sequencing technology spinout from University of Oxford, raised £100m ($140m) in funding today from backers including GIC, the sovereign wealth fund of Singapore.

Australian superannuation fund Hostplus and financial services firm China Construction Bank also contributed to the round, as did unnamed, existing shareholders.

Incorporated in 2005, Oxford Nanopore has developed real-time DNA and RNA sequencing technology that offers biological analyses at low cost. The technology has applications in disease and pathogen surveillance, environmental monitoring, food supply chain inspection and microgravity biology.

The company has created a range of products around the technology – the portable Minion, the desktop version Gridion X5 and the large-scale Promethion. The latter of these, Promethion, is able to sequence the human genome at less at $1000.

Oxford Nanopore is also working on additional devices, including a programmable, automated USB sample-preparation device called Voltrax, a single-test nanopore sequencing adapter for Minion, called Flongle, and a smartphone sequencer, dubbed Smidgion.

The technology is based on 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.

The latest funding round will support further research and development. It will also enable the construction of a new manufacturing facility in Oxford and drive recruitment of the spinout’s commercial team.

The spinout has raised £451m to date, most recently closing a $126m funding round in 2016 that featured commercialisation firm IP Group and was led by investment fund GT Healthcare. Woodford Investment Management and a range of undisclosed new and existing backers also took part.

IP Group had already contributed to a $107m funding round in 2015 that also included several unnamed investors.

Other shareholders in the spinout include genomics company Illumina, which injected $18m in 2009, Odey Asset Management, Invesco Perpetual, Top Technology Ventures and Lansdowne Partners.

Gordon Sanghera, chief executive of Oxford Nanopore, said: “Our 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.

“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. Our investors are ambitious and support our long-term vision: to enable the analysis of any living thing, by anyone, anywhere.

“We would also like to thank the innovative community of nanopore users, who have been instrumental in driving new uses for our products.”