October 9, 2013 | Oxford Nanopore Technologies Ltd. today announced $64 million in new funds, raised from a multinational mix of current and new investors. The company has raised a total of $230 million since its founding in 2005, to pursue the development of nanopore-based analysis systems on the single-molecule scale. Oxford Nanopore hopes to offer researchers scalable, high-speed tools for the analysis of DNA, RNA and proteins using nanopore sensing. The technology works by passing target molecules through a membrane with nano-scale holes set inside it, while an ionic current is run across those holes. Disruption in the current can then be measured to identify the molecules under examination.
“We have heard little news from ONT in recent months,” analysts commented on the recent round of fundraising. “Our conversations with users reflect continued hope for access to ONT's MinION system by year end.” MinION would advance the current state of the art in nanopore technology with a miniaturized, disposable device that could be plugged into the USB port of a computer, while still offering high sensitivity to complex samples like blood or environmental water samples. MinION has not yet been made commercially available.
A portion of the company’s new funding will be directed toward R&D, while another portion will go to developing Oxford Nanopore’s manufacturing and commercial infrastructure in anticipation of future product releases. Oxford Nanopore remains a privately held company.