Oxford Nanopore eyes London listing later this year

Oxford Nanopore’s factory at Harwell Campus

Harwell-based DNA sequencing company Oxford Nanopore Technologies Limited is to begin the process of preparing for a potential initial public offering.

In a statement it said that while the timing of a potential IPO is dependent on market conditions and other matters not fully within the company’s control, at this stage the company expects that the IPO would occur in the second half of 2021 on the London Stock Exchange.

Oxford Nanopore, which was originally spun out of Oxford University, was declared a “unicorn” (a company valued at more than $1 billion), in 2018. Last October it announced it had raised £84.4M in new capital.

Oxford Nanopore’s ambition is to be a global company that enables the analysis of anything by anyone, anywhere.

Scientists across the world are using its DNA/RNA sequencing technology to answer some of society’s most urgent and important questions, including those concerned with biomedical, pathogen, plant and animal scientific research, infectious disease, critical viral surveillance, optimising crop efficiency, ensuring food security and understanding how our environment is changing.

In 2019 it opened a high-tech manufacturing facility at Harwell Campus designed to scale up high quality production capacity for the coming years.

Gaining access to deeper, international pools of capital would, it says, support its ambitious growth plans, enhancing its ability to innovate and scale our manufacturing and commercial functions.

In 2015, Oxford Nanopore started to sell its first commercial device, the MinION portable DNA/RNA sequencer. Since then, it has expanded its product range to include both even smaller formats and larger high throughput sequencing devices suitable for population-scale human genomics.

The last year has been transformative for Oxford Nanopore Technologies, and includes key highlighters including supporting users around the world to sequence the virus that causes COVID-19, facilitating continual surveillance of the virus. Around a fifth (~170,000) of the SARS-CoV-2 virus genomes in the global database GISAID were generated on one of its devices, with nanopore data uploaded by scientists from more than 85 countries. The role of genomics in infectious disease is now better understood.

Oxford Nanopore has also announced that Tim Cowper is taking the role of Chief Financial Officer, and Jordan Herman has joined as General Counsel.

CEO Gordon Sanghera said: ““We’re delighted to announce that Tim will be taking on the important role of CFO, and to welcome Jordan to the Company after working with him for so long as external counsel. These new roles add strength to the Company’s Corporate team as Oxford Nanopore continues its rapid expansion.”

A Chartered Accountant and operations specialist, Tim Cowper was interim Finance Director at Oxford Nanopore for several months in 2009. He then joined Oxford Nanopore as Commercial Operations Director in 2012. In his first five years at the company Tim was responsible for setting up and managing operations and infrastructure across the company, including leading on operations for its first product launch – the MinION Access Programme – in 2015.

Having qualified as an accountant at Ernst & Young, Tim became Financial Controller of Celltech Group plc where he was a key member of the IPO team and managed several transactions of the Listed company. He went on to co-found Sterilox and ran the finance function before joining Clipper Ventures plc as Finance Director. Tim has also been Finance Director at British Biotech plc (Vernalis plc) as well as managing a portfolio of biotech and technology companies, including the AIM-listed Bioventix plc, before joining Oxford Nanopore.

Jordan Herman joined Oxford Nanopore in 2021 as General Counsel. Prior to this Jordan was a partner at Baker Botts L.L.P., where he was Oxford Nanopore’s outside counsel for more than a decade.