GENE sequencing group Oxford Nanopore has raised £195 million in new capital in the lead-up to its highly anticipated London float.
The biotech “unicorn” has raised £125 million from Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek, M&G Investments, Wellington and Nikon.
IP Group was among existing shareholders to pour in a further £70 million.
The latest funding round places a value of around £2.5 billion on the group whose portable DNA and RNA sequencing devices are used in the study of infectious diseases, cancer research, viral surveillance, food safety and environmental studies.
The handheld machines are also being deployed to detect mutant strains of Covid-19.
It has announced it will go public in London in the second half of this year, with founder Dr Gordon Sanghera saying that while 2020 was a ‘pivotal year’, the firm is: “still only in the foothills of what is possible.”
The float will also bring a potential payday for investors in Neil Woodford’s collapsed Patient Capital fund now being managed by Schroders: Nanopore is the second largest holding in the Schroder UK Public Private trust at 13.7% of the portfolio.
But the benefits will be missed by those in the far bigger Woodford Equity Income Fund, whose stake was sold last year by administrator Link to Acacia Research, a US-based fund being advised by Woodford.
Acacia bought the 6% stake in Nanopore from for £97.8 million in June. Current estimates suggest it is now worth roughly double that sum.