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30 Mar 2021 | 12:13

DNA sequencing firm Oxford Nanopore mulling London IPO

(Sharecast News) - DNA sequencing company Oxford Nanopore Technologies has started the process of preparing for a potential initial public offering (IPO), it said on Tuesday. The company, which is involved in the tracking of Covid-19 mutations, said that while the timing of an IPO would be dependent on market conditions, it expected a London listing to happen in the second half of 2021.

"We believe that an IPO is the start of the next phase of our journey," the company said in a statement.

"Gaining access to deeper, international pools of capital would support our ambitious growth plans, enhancing our ability to innovate and scale our manufacturing and commercial functions. It would, we believe, provide us with the resources and flexibility to fulfil our long-term potential."

Oxford Nanopore started to sell its first commercial device, the 'MinION' portable DNA and RNA sequencer, in 2015, and had since expanded its product range to include both smaller formats and larger high-throughput sequencing devices for population-scale human genomics since then.

The board said the use of nanopore sequencing had expanded in a broad scientific community, with more than 1,500 scientific publications now illustrating the use of its technology.

It described the last year as "transformative" for the company, as it supported the sequencing of the virus that causes Covid-19 with users globally, facilitating continual surveillance of the virus.

Around a fifth, or 170,000, of the SARS-CoV-2 virus genomes in the global GISAID database were generated on one of the company's devices, with nanopore data uploaded by scientists from more than 85 countries.

It also developed a high-performance diagnostic test for the detection of SARS-CoV-2, leading to an acceleration in the development of its infrastructure, processes and talent, so it could explore opportunities in diagnostic markets beyond the coronavirus.

"The challenging events of 2020 demonstrated the importance of life sciences in understanding and improving the world around us," the company said.

"Our DNA and RNA sequencing technology is well-positioned for accelerated use across multiple applications; we believe that there is huge potential for near-sample, rapid, low cost, sequencing-based analyses across scientific research, healthcare and industrial settings.

"These include the long-term potential to provide rapid biological insights in infectious disease, immune profiling and cancer, as well as in food safety, agriculture or other industrial environments."
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