Illumina and Oxford Nanopore Technologies announced a strategic alliance including a commercialization agreement and equity investment. Under the terms of the commercialization agreement, Illumina will exclusively market, sell, distribute, and service BASE™ Technology products developed by Oxford Nanopore for DNA sequencing into the research and diagnostic markets on a worldwide basis. Illumina and Oxford Nanopore will share profits generated from sales.
Oxford Nanopore’s new generation sequencing system uses protein nanopores coupled with a processive enzyme. This system is designed for direct electrical identification of DNA bases at the single-molecule level, without the need for fluorescent labels. Currently in development, this technology has the potential to provide substantial advantages over current sequencing approaches, not only in speed and cost but also in simplicity and versatility of overall workflow. The removal of the traditional fluorescent labeling step and reduced burden of sample preparation are highly desirable in future generations of sequencing technology.
As part of the agreement, Illumina made an equity investment of $18.0 million (£11.8 million), which will be used to accelerate the development of BASETM Technology. Illumina has also agreed to make an additional equity investment upon the achievement of a specific technical milestone.