Oracle has signed up to be a cornerstone investor for Oxford Nanopore’s initial public offering, putting up half of the $410m target.

Oxford Nanopore, the UK-based DNA sequencing technology spinout of University of Oxford, has secured software producer Oracle as a cornerstone investor for its initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange. Oracle will invest £150m ($205m), halfway to Oxford Nanopore’s target of $410m. The two companies have also entered into a partnership to explore potential applications for genomic sequencing running on Oracle’s cloud. They expect to tackle large-scale projects spanning drug discovery, healthcare, epidemiology and whole-genome sequencing. Founded in 2005, Oxford Nanopore has created DNA and RNA sequencing technology that provides real-time analytics. Its technology is fully scalable from hand-held devices for use in the field through to benchtop products and population-scale platforms. Mike Sicilia, executive vice-president of Oracle Vertical Industries, said: “Oxford Nanopore’s innovative sequencing technology is unparalleled in the market for its ability to generate rich, accurate genomic data at any scale, from handheld devices to ultra-high output installations. “By integrating genomic data into our existing applications and cloud infrastructure solutions, we can get these powerful tools into the hands of more people to solve critical health issues faster and improve patient outcomes to usher in a new era of genomic breakthrough.” The spinout has raised more than $1bn in funding overall. It was valued at $3.4bn as of a $270m round in May this year, when commercialisation firm IP Group, imaging technology producer Nikon, Temasek, Wellington Management and M&G Investment all invested. Unnamed existing backers also joined the round. Amadeus Capital Partners purchased $24m worth of shares in a secondary transaction in February this year. It pocketed $108m in funding in October 2020 from RPMI Railpen together with new and existing shareholders of which only diversified holding group International Holdings Company was named. Internet group Tencent reportedly took part in a $98.1m funding round closed in May 2020. 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 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. BofASecurities, Citigroup Global Markets, and JP Morgan  Securities are the joint global coordinators for the proposed offering, while Barclays, Berenberg, Guggenheim Securities, Numis Securities and RBC Europe are the 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).