Professor Hagan Bayley named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Royal Society of Chemistry

Professor Hagan Bayley, Professor of Chemical Biology at the University of Oxford, was named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Royal Society of Chemistry at last night’s Industry and Technology Forum Awards.

The award recognises Professor Bayley’s excellence in science and contribution to British industry. He is the founder of Oxford Nanopore Technologies Ltd., which is developing the first single-molecule, label-free method of sequencing DNA.

Professor Bayley has researched nanopores for nearly 20 years, at world-leading institutions that include Harvard, MIT, the University of Massachusetts and now the University of Oxford.  He founded Oxford Nanopore to transform the accumulated knowledge of nanopores into a highly competitive technology for single molecule analysis.  Nanopores may be used to identify single molecules of DNA, and also a broad range of other analytes that might include proteins, biological or chemical weapons, drugs of abuse and much more.

Oxford Nanopore has raised £24 million in the last year, against a backdrop of a challenging environment for growing technology companies.  This has allowed the company to accelerate its development, expanding from 25 people to more than 60 scientists, engineers and informaticians.

“I would like to thank the RSC for this award, which not only recognises the exciting work underway at Oxford Nanopore, but also the strong British tradition of producing revolutionary scientific ideas,” said Professor Bayley.  “These are difficult times for those wishing to develop academic science into useful technologies and I am privileged to be part of a team that is attracting the funds to support that process.  I would like to commend the many pioneers within the UK who are currently working hard to produce innovative products and build our technology industry.”

Dr James Clarke, Principal Scientist at Oxford Nanopore, has been highly commended by the RSC in the Young Industrialist of the Year category.  Dr Clarke was lead author of a recent landmark nanopore DNA analysis paper, published in Nature Nanotechnology in 2009.



Zoe McDougall, Communications

+44 (0) 870 486 1966

Professor Hagan Bayley

Educated at the University of Oxford, Professor Bayley spent most of his academic career at leading US academic institutions, including Harvard, MIT, the University of Massachusetts and Texas A&M University. He returned to the UK in 2003 as the Professor of Chemical Biology in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Oxford. Oxford's Chemistry department is now the largest in the western world, and it has recently completed the construction of state-of-the-art facilities for multidisciplinary chemistry research. The academic standards of the Department are regarded as second to none, and the teaching course was recently given the highest possible rankings by two educational authorities.

Professor Bayley's research interests lie in the exploration of membrane protein structure and function, and the use of molecular engineering techniques that transform these proteins into unique measurement systems for exploring the chemistry of individual molecules. Of particular interest are the analysis of DNA at the single molecule level, and the potential for ultra-fast gene sequencing using nanopores. Professor Bayley founded Oxford NanoLabs (now Oxford Nanopore) in 2005.

Dr James Clarke

Dr Clarke joined Oxford Nanopore from the research group of Professor Hagan Bayley, where he was a post-doctoral researcher examining nanopore chemistry and lipid membrane stabilisation for biosensor applications. He obtained a PhD from the chemistry department at Imperial College London studying lipid-cholesterol phase behaviour via solid-state NMR under the supervision of Prof. J. Seddon and Dr. R. Law.

Oxford Nanopore Technologies Ltd.

Oxford Nanopore was founded in 2005 on the science of Professor Hagan Bayley of the University of Oxford. Since its inception, the Company has focused on developing nanopore technology into a mass producible biochip and reader system for molecular analysis.

The company’s lead application is DNA analysis.  BASE™ Technology uses an adapted protein nanopore coupled with a processive exonuclease enzyme to sequence DNA. Future generations of nanopore sequencing technology may sequence DNA polymers directly or utilize nanpores made of synthetic materials.

The technology is label-free and sensitive at the single-molecule level, meaning that it removes the need for fluorescent labels, optical imaging and instrumentation, and the need for complex sample preparation including DNA amplification. By scaling up into a massively parallel sequencing process on an array chip, this method has the potential to deliver dramatic improvements in cost, speed, simplicity and versatility of sequencing.

Nanopores may also be used for the identification of other single molecules, including proteins such as biomarkers, drugs of abuse and chemical or biological weapons.  The technology may also have a role in drug development through ion channel screening.