Oxford Nanopore, the UK-based DNA sequencing technology spinout of University of Oxford, went public yesterday after issuing 82.4 million shares priced at £4.25 ($5.81) each for $478m in proceeds. The initial public offering valued Oxford Nanopore at $4.7bn and existing shareholders, including commercialisation firm IP Group, offloaded $238m worth of stock. Software producer Oracle had already committed to being a cornerstone investor for the IPO, putting aside $205m last week. Shares soared 45% on the first day of trading on the London Stock Exchange, where the spinout has listed under the ticker symbol ONT. As of the time of publication, shares are worth more than £6.22 each. Founded in 2005, Oxford Nanopore sells DNA and RNA sequencing technology that provides real-time analytics. The technology has been applied to a wide range of products ranging from hand-held devices to population-scale platforms. Proceeds have been allocated to research and development activities, doubling the size of the commercial team within 18 months, manufacturing automation and customer acquisition, as well as pursuing in-licensing opportunities and potentially exploring acquisitions. Oxford Nanopore had secured more than $1bn in funding prior to the offering. It was valued at $3.4bn as of a $270m round in May this year, when IP Group, imaging technology producer Nikon, Temasek, Wellington Management and M&G Investment all injected capital, as did unnamed existing backers. RPMI Railpen, International Holdings Company, internet group Tencent, pharmaceutical firm Amgen, genomics technology provider Illumina, China Construction Bank, GIC, GT Healthcare, Hostplus, Invesco Perpetual, Lansdowne Partners, Odey Asset Management and Top Technology Ventures and Amadeus Capital Partners are all investors. WCM Partners Healthcare, the Cayman Islands-based fund managed by Neil Woodford, is also a shareholder. Woodford had owned shares through the since-collapsed Woodford Investment Management but it is unclear how WCM acquired the shares in Oxford Nanopore. IP Group remains the largest shareholder in the spinout, with 10.3% post-IPO (down from 14.5%). Tencent now owns 7.9%, followed by cloud computing firm Group 42’s Investments AI Holdings (5.6%), patent litigation firm Acacia Research (4.4%) and Lansdowne (4.8%) – the latter having bought 501,000 shares in the offering. The spinout has committed 18.5 million additional shares to the over-allotment option, which could boost proceeds by as much as $107m. BofASecurities, Citigroup Global Markets, and JP Morgan Securities served as the joint global coordinators for the offering, while Barclays, Berenberg, Guggenheim Securities, Numis Securities and RBC Europe acted as joint bookrunners.

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Thierry Heles

Thierry Heles is the editor of Global University Venturing, host of the Beyond the Breakthrough interview podcast and responsible for the monthly GUV Gazette (sign up here for free).