Hostplus commits $27.5m to Oxford Nanopore
Hostplus announced today a AU$27.5 million investment in Oxford Nanopore Technologies, the company behind the development of the world’s only portable, real-time DNA sequencer.
Oxford Nanopore’s goal is to enable the analysis of any living thing, by any person, in any environment.
The investment, which has been made through IP Group, will help support Oxford Nanopore’s next phase of commercial expansion including a new manufacturing facility, and research and development of Oxford Nanopore’s suite of analysis devices.
“Our business is moving quickly from personal sequencers, into high-end sequencing and distributed analyses.
We are also driving change in how scientists and industries access DNA information by introducing smaller, accessible, low-cost formats – including a sequencer that can be used on your smart phone.
Our investors are ambitious and support our long-term vision to enable the analysis of any living thing, by anyone, anywhere. We would like to thank the innovative community of nanopore users, who have been instrumental in driving new uses for our products.”
Hostplus Chief Executive Officer, David Elia, said the fund’s AUS$27.5 million investment in Oxford Nanopore formed part of the IP Group Hostplus Innovation Fund.
IP Group plc, a leading intellectual property commercialisation company listed on the London Stock Exchange, expanded its business model into Australia last year through commercialisation partnership agreements with the Group of Eight Australian universities and The University of Auckland.
As part of this expansion, Hostplus committed AU$50 million through a co-investment mandate with the Group.
“We are excited by the possibilities of Oxford Nanopore technology to develop new applied markets and to revolutionise testing. This could be in oncology, infectious disease, reproductive health and blood screening.
“We are confident this investment will deliver strong risk-adjusted returns to our 1.1 million members.”
IP Group’s Chief Investment Officer, Asia Pacific, Alistair McCreadie, said Oxford Nanopore is one of the group’s earliest investments in disruptive technology.
“We are delighted to have a partner with the same long-term investment philosophy as IP Group investing in one of our existing, globally-focussed portfolio companies.
Hostplus’ support of IP Group and our portfolio companies is critical to achieving our objective of evolving great ideas into world-changing businesses, through a combination of long-term patient capital and commercialisation expertise”.
Mr McCreadie said Oxford Nanopore’s products are currently being used around the world, including by some of Australia’s leading medical research institutes and universities – such as the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney.
“We are also seeing Australian start-ups using Oxford Nanopore’s technology to develop their own products and services.
Our access to a global pool of capital enables us to support and develop Australian scientific research, as well as bring technologies to Australia that contribute to growth in the local economy, the creation of high value jobs and real-world impacts benefiting all Australians.”
This investment complements Hostplus’ AU$550 million commitment to the start-up ecosystem, supporting innovation in biomed, fintech, clean energy, autonomous cars and cybersecurity. These alternative investments play an important role in the industry super fund’s balanced portfolio.
About Oxford Nanopore Technologies
Oxford Nanopore Technologies Ltd has developed the world’s only portable, real-time DNA/RNA sequencer. The company is headquartered in Oxford, UK, with expanding global operations.
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 or a range of real-world applications such as disease/pathogen surveillance, environmental monitoring, food-chain surveillance, self-quantification or even microgravity biology. Commercially available since 2015, the MinION is in use by a thriving community of scientists in more than 70 countries, where it is enabling myriad applications within the traditional laboratory environment and in the field.
Nanopore sequencing technology is fully scalable. The GridION X5 is a desktop device that includes compute module and the ability to run up to five MinION Flow Cells. The high-throughput, high-sample number PromethION has now been released in the PromethION Early Access Programme (PEAP).
PromethION is nearly 300 times more powerful than the MinION, but modular and on-demand. In early 2018, Oxford Nanopore is producing more than 150Gb per PromethION Flow Cell – PromethION is designed to run up to 48 Flow Cells. Customers are producing 70-100Gb per PromethION Flow Cell using clinical samples and plant samples as well as test samples. This shows that PromethION can deliver a sub-$1,000 human genome on long-read nanopore data alone.
Oxford Nanopore is focused on making DNA-based analyses easy enough for any user and so we are focused on simple sample preparation and data-analysis processes. For sample preparation, this includes a 5–10 minute sample prep kit and VolTRAX, a rapid, programmable, automated USB sample preparation device designed to prepare DNA for addition to a nanopore sequencing device. The Company is also developing a single-test nanopore sequencing adapter for MinION (Flongle) and a smartphone sequencer, SmidgION.
About IP Group
IP Group is a leading intellectual property commercialisation company which focuses on evolving great ideas, mainly from its partner universities, into world-changing businesses. The Group has pioneered a unique approach to developing these ideas and the resulting businesses by providing access to business building expertise, capital (through its 100%-owned FCA-authorised subsidiaries IP Capital and Parkwalk Advisors), networks, recruitment and business support.
IP Group has a strong track record of success and its portfolio comprises holdings in early-stage to mature businesses across life sciences and technology. IP Group is listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange under the code IPO.