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Singapore’s GIC invests in portable, real-time DNA sequencing firm

Singapore’s GIC invests in portable

Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC recently announced
that it has invested in Oxford Nanopore Technologies.

Oxford Nanopore
is the developer of the world's only portable, scalable, real-time deoxyribonucleic
acid (DNA)/ribonucleic acid (RNA) sequencer, with a customer base spanning over
70 countries.

Oxford Nanopore’s innovation, the MinION, is a portable,
real-time, long-read, low-cost device that has been designed to bring easy
biological analyses to anyone, whether in scientific research, education or a
range of real-world applications such as disease and/or pathogen surveillance,
environmental monitoring, food-chain surveillance, self-quantification or even
microgravity biology.

According to Oxford Nanopore, nanopore sequencing is being applied to fields where
portability, ease of set up, long reads and real-time analysis make a
difference and where users want to control the time-to-results.

GIC is one of the key investors in ONT’s £100-million
(equivalent to S$184 million) capital raising. Other investors include China
Construction Bank International (CCBI), Australian hospitality industry pension
fund HostPlus and existing investors of ONT.

“I’m pleased that
such a pioneering British business has obtained the investment they need to
grow, creating thousands more jobs and continuing ground-breaking research in
this field here in the UK. Through our modern Industrial Strategy, we are
making sure that Britain remains the natural choice for innovative firms to
prosper – investing in the future of our country,’ said Prime Minister
of the UK Theresa May.

The funds raised will be used to support a new high-volume,
high-tech manufacturing facility, commercial expansion and the development of
new innovative products.

According to a press
by Oxford Nanopore, the funds raised will also support research and
development (R&D) as Oxford Nanopore expands its suite of nanopore analysis
devices. The currently available pocket MinION and desktop GridION are being joined by high-throughput modular
sequencing with PromethION and small,
single-test sequencing with Flongle.

“Oxford Nanopore has a unique business model of providing
accessible, real-time DNA analysis technologies that can be applied to pocket-sized
or industrial installations,” said GIC’s Chief Investment Officer of Public
Equities Bryan Yeo.

“We believe this will continue to drive growth in their user
base as well as in new applications for DNA or RNA sequencing. This investment
reflects our confidence in the global demand outlook for DNA information across
many industries over the long term,” he added.

Headquartered at the Oxford Science Park outside
Oxford in the UK, Oxford Nanopore has a commercial presence in US, China,
Japan, France, and Germany. New operations are now being opened in Shanghai and
San Francisco. It has also announced the forthcoming construction of a new
bespoke 34,000sqft manufacturing facility on the Harwell Science and Innovation


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