THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. and OXFORD, England, Oct. 18, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) and Oxford Nanopore Technologies Ltd. today announced Amgen’s equity investment of £50 million ($66 million) in Oxford Nanopore, a privately-owned, UK-based company advancing a new generation of portable, real-time genetic sequencing technology.
Oxford Nanopore has developed and brought to market a proprietary sequencing technology that uses many nanopores (nano-scale holes made by proteins contained within a synthetic membrane) in combination with electronics to perform direct, real-time sequencing of DNA and RNA. The technology ranges in scale from pocket-sized to very high throughput benchtop devices and can sequence very long fragments of DNA or RNA, which has a number of benefits in genomic analysis.
The investment in Oxford Nanopore aligns with Amgen’s strategic focus on using human genetics to deliver new medicines to patients. Amgen subsidiary deCODE Genetics, a world leader in human genetics, uses Oxford Nanopore’s sequencing technologies to conduct genome research, including the identification and validation of new targets.
“The study of human genetics continues to uncover insights into the diseases we face as a society,” said Kári Stefánsson, founder of deCODE Genetics. “Oxford Nanopore’s long-read sequencing capability creates a window into parts of the genome that have been out of reach, as well as giving us a much better handle on structural variants that confer risk of a wide variety of diseases. We have used Oxford Nanopore technology to sequence several hundred human genomes and continue to see the promise of this emerging technology.”
“As a biotechnology pioneer, Amgen has demonstrated what can be achieved for society through innovation and a deep understanding of genetics,” said Gordon Sanghera, chief executive officer of Oxford Nanopore. “We are delighted to welcome them as a shareholder.”
Nanopore technology is uniquely scalable. MinIONTM, the only pocket-sized sequencer, can be used to sequence in any location. In addition, Oxford Nanopore has developed benchtop, on-demand, high-throughput devices such as PromethIONTM designed for very large projects or large numbers of samples.
This investment will be effected through the purchase of £50 million ($66 million) of ordinary shares in Oxford Nanopore based on the same price per share as the primary fundraising announced in March 2018.
Amgen is committed to unlocking the potential of biology for patients suffering from serious illnesses by discovering, developing, manufacturing and delivering innovative human therapeutics. This approach begins by using tools like advanced human genetics to unravel the complexities of disease and understand the fundamentals of human biology.
Amgen focuses on areas of high unmet medical need and leverages its expertise to strive for solutions that improve health outcomes and dramatically improve people’s lives. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen has grown to be one of the world’s leading independent biotechnology companies, has reached millions of patients around the world and is developing a pipeline of medicines with breakaway potential.
About deCODE Genetics
Based in Reykjavik, Iceland, deCODE is a global leader in analyzing and understanding the human genome. Using its unique expertise and population resources, deCODE has discovered genetic risk factors for dozens of common diseases. The purpose of understanding the genetics of disease is to use that information to create new means of diagnosing, treating and preventing disease. deCODE is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amgen.
About Oxford Nanopore
Oxford Nanopore Technologies aims to disrupt the paradigm of biological analysis by making high performance, novel DNA/RNA sequencing technology that is accessible and easy to use. Our goal is to enable the genetic analysis of any living thing, by any person, in any environment.
Our novel, electronics-based DNA/RNA sequencing technology is being used in more than 80 countries, for a range of biological research applications. These include large-scale human genomics, cancer research, microbiology, plant science and environmental research.
Nanopore sequencing is also being explored beyond research, where it has the potential to provide rapid, meaningful information in the fields of healthcare, agriculture, food and water surveillance and education.
Follow Oxford Nanopore on Twitter at www.twitter.com/nanopore.