GIC, others invest $185m in portable DNA sequencing firm

Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC has invested in Oxford Nanopore Technologies, a British-based company that has developed the world's only pocket-size, portable DNA sequencing device.

Other key investors in the £100 million (S$185 million) capital-raising include China Construction Bank International, Australian hospitality industry pension fund Hostplus and Oxford Nanopore's existing investors, said GIC yesterday.

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

Said Mr Bryan Yeo, chief investment officer for public equities at GIC: "Oxford Nanopore has a unique business model of providing accessible, real-time DNA analysis technologies that can be applied to pocket-size or industrial installations.

"We believe this will continue to drive growth in their user base, as well as in new applications for deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) or ribonucleic acid (RNA) sequencing. This investment reflects our confidence in the global demand outlook for DNA information across many industries over the long term."

Oxford Nanopore produces a USB device, called MinION, which is smaller than a regular phone and connects to a conventional laptop to sequence long strands of DNA. The device works on what is called nanopore technology.

POSITIVE OUTLOOK

This investment reflects our confidence in the global demand outlook for DNA information across many industries over the long term.

MR BRYAN YEO, chief investment officer for public equities at GIC, on Oxford Nanopore Technologies.

The company has a customer base spanning over 70 countries, said GIC. It has a commercial presence in New York and Cambridge in the United States, China, Japan, France and Germany.

New operations are being opened in Shanghai and San Francisco. The company also announced the upcoming construction of a 34,000 sq ft manufacturing facility at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus near Oxford, England.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 21, 2018, with the headline 'GIC, others invest $185m in portable DNA sequencing firm'. Print Edition | Subscribe