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Oxford Nanopore gets £70m investment from French biotech

Oxford Nanopore investment
Image credit: Oxford Nanopore Technologies

Oxford Nanopore Technologies has received a £70m investment from French diagnostics firm BioMérieux. The biotech, based in Marcy-l’Étoile near Lyon, has taken a 3.5% stake in the London-listed DNA sequencing company.

Shares in Oxford Nanopore, which sells portable DNA and RNA sequencers, rose 14.3% last night following the equity investment.

Oxford Nanopore listed in London in 2021 amid an influx of tech initial public offerings (IPOs) in the UK. The company was valued at £4.8bn at its debut, with stocks soaring from its opening price of £4.25 per share to a peak of £7.16 three months later. Oxford Nanopore shares are currently priced at £2.15.

“With BioMérieux’s strategic investment and our shared commitment to innovation, we are poised to accelerate the development of nanopore-based IVD solutions,” said chief executive Gordon Sanghera.

“This investment will enable us to deliver rapid, accessible, and affordable clinical tools more quickly to address unmet needs and improve healthcare worldwide.”

The University of Oxford spinout boosted its revenue by 49% to £198.6m in its full-year accounts for 2022. Despite positive growth in revenue, the company was unable to secure its first year of profitability, narrowing losses from £167.6m in 2021 to £91m last year.

In the company’s latest guidance, it projected revenue growth to be in the range of 16% to 30% for 2023.

Pierre Boulud, BioMérieux CEO said: “Drawing on our six decades of expertise in the in vitro diagnostic space, we consider that the new generation of sequencing technology developed by Oxford Nanopore holds promise to answer future diagnostic needs and will further improve patient care, in particular against the ever-growing infectious diseases threat.”

Oxford Nanopore was spun out of the University of Oxford and its handheld devices have brought DNA sequencing outside of the lab and onto the field. DNA sequencing is based on a technique that uses protein nanopores to read individual DNA molecules.

The spinout’s technology has been used to diagnose viruses in African crops and to sequence Covid-19.