New Funding for Oxford Nanopore as PromethION Approaches
July 21, 2015 | Oxford Nanopore Technologies, whose nanopore sequencing platform increasingly looks prepared to challenge established players like Illumina, announced today that it has raised an additional $109 million in funding for product development and to ramp up manufacturing. The new windfall comes as the company is opening early access to its second instrument, the PromethION, which combines 48 flow cells in parallel to achieve the ultra-high throughput needed for human whole genome sequencing or large-scale genomic research.
Early access to the PromethION will be available to customers already in the MinION Access Program, which has by now evolved into a full commercial rollout of Oxford Nanopore's first product, the single-flow-cell MinION. As early accuracy problems with the MinION have slowly smoothed out, and users have produced more and more high quality data, the pocket-size instrument has increasingly seemed poised to open up new niches for genomics, in small labs, clinics, and mobile environments. However, the PromethION will be the first nanopore sequencer aimed at traditional genomics markets, as a benchtop device claiming the long reads of a PacBio RSII and low per-base costs of an Illumina HiSeq.
Members of the PromethION Early Access Program will pay an "access fee" of $24,000 for the instrument, similar to the $1,000 fee for the MinION Access Program that is now generally recognized as the commercial price of a MinION.
Earlier this year, Oxford Nanopore announced a series of additional features and upgrades it will introduce through 2016.