Oxford Nanopore Technologies acquires Northern Nanopore Instruments

Acquisition will add to Oxford Nanopore’s existing innovation base of high-performance nanopore-based sensing technology, supporting long-term technology development and expanding the company’s intellectual property portfolio.

Oxford Nanopore Technologies plc (Oxford Nanopore), the company delivering a new generation of nanopore-based molecular sensing technology, today announced the acquisition of Northern Nanopore Instruments (“NNi”), a Canadian biotechnology startup with unique expertise in an innovative solid-state nanopore fabrication technology.

This acquisition expands Oxford Nanopore’s longer-term technology pipeline by enhancing its solid-state nanopore expertise and patent portfolio, reflecting the long-term commitment of the company to continuously innovate.

NNi is an innovative company that specialises in low-cost and precise solid-state nanopore fabrication with in-situ size controls. Currently, NNi manufactures solid-state nanopore materials that are used by researchers to understand the potential for solid-state nanopore-based sensing.

The NNi team will continue to work with Oxford Nanopore to develop and scale solid-state nanopore fabrication technology, with a potential long-term goal of developing arrays of solid-state nanopores. This work will be conducted through a research collaboration between Oxford Nanopore and the University of Ottawa.

Nanopores can be used as part of a sensing technology with the capability to analyse single biological molecules such as DNA/RNA, proteins or metabolites, and also non-biological analytes. Oxford Nanopore has developed and currently commercialises a high-performance DNA/RNA sequencing technology based on engineered protein nanopores, which are at the core of Oxford Nanopore’s ambitious product development pipeline and scaling ambitions for the coming years.

Solid-state nanopores have the potential to further deliver on Oxford Nanopore’s long-term vision of enabling the analysis of anything, by anyone, anywhere, by exploring the measurement of new analytes and product form factors.

Spike Willcocks, Chief Strategy Office of Oxford Nanopore, commented:

“With the acquisition of Northern Nanopore Instruments, we are excited to unlock new insights into the benefits of solid-state nanopores, which offer a range of different features compared to the biological nanopores our platform uses today, for sensing of molecules other than nucleic acids. Innovation is a core value for us, and we look forward to drawing on the talents of the team from NNi and the University of Ottawa – and investing in the Canadian biotech ecosystem more broadly – to continue innovating and uncovering the future potential generation of nanopore-based sensing in fields such as genomics and proteomics.”

Kyle Briggs, CEO of NNi, commented:

“Oxford Nanopore is an ideal partner with whom to develop solid-state nanopore technology. They are unique, both in understanding the potential of solid-state nanopore technology and the challenges to its realisation, and in their clearly demonstrated ability to navigate those challenges. We are very excited to be joining the team that brought nanopore based sequencing from the academic lab all the way to success on a global scale, and we look forward to integrating our solid-state nanopore expertise with their experience in scaling deep tech to make the potential of solid-state nanopores a reality.”