Illumina and Oxford Nanopore Enter into Broad Commercialization Agreement

Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:00am EST

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

Single-Molecule DNA Sequencing System Promises Dramatic Improvement in Cost,
Speed, Versatility, and Simplicity of Sequencing
SAN DIEGO & OXFORD, England--(Business Wire)--
Illumina (NASDAQ:ILMN) and Oxford Nanopore Technologies ("Oxford Nanopore")
today 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

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. 

"Oxford Nanopore`s technology holds tremendous promise to achieve the sub-$1,000
human genome," said Jay Flatley, President and CEO of Illumina. "Making
electrical measurements of unmodified DNA removes the need for complex sample
prep and the high-performance optics found in today`s sequencing systems. We
look forward to a long and productive partnership with Oxford Nanopore." 

Oxford Nanopore`s CEO, Dr Gordon Sanghera commented, "This alliance brings
together today`s commercial leader in the field and what we believe will be the
future`s best sequencing technology. The agreement reflects the rapid progress
we have made in developing nanopore technology towards being the first
label-free, single-molecule sequencing system. The partnership will enable us to
further accelerate our development and enable broad commercialization through
Illumina`s significant commercial infrastructure." 

About 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 the pioneering work of Professor Bayley into a mass producible
biochip and reader system for molecular analysis. Nanopores have been researched
for more than 15 years at a number of the world's most prestigious academic
institutions including Harvard, MIT, NIST, the University of Massachusetts,
Texas A&M University, and the University of Oxford. 

BASETM (Bayley Sequencing) technology uses an adapted protein nanopore coupled
with a processive exonuclease enzyme to sequence DNA. The enzyme cleaves
individual bases from a strand of DNA, and sequentially introduces the bases
into the aperture of the nanopore. An ionic current is continually flowing
through the nanopore, and as individual bases travel through the nanopore, each
one creates a characteristic disruption in this current. This signal is recorded
electronically and interpreted to identify the DNA base. Recordings from
multiple channels in parallel allows high-throughput sequencing of DNA. 

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. 

For more information visit 

About Illumina

Illumina ( is a leading developer, manufacturer, and marketer
of next-generation life-science tools and integrated systems for the analysis of
genetic variation and biological function. Using our proprietary technologies,
we provide a comprehensive line of products and services that currently serve
the sequencing, genotyping, and gene expression markets, and we expect to enter
the market for molecular diagnostics. Our customers include leading genomic
research centers, pharmaceutical companies, academic institutions, clinical
research organizations, and biotechnology companies. Our tools provide
researchers around the world with the performance, throughput, cost
effectiveness, and flexibility necessary to perform the billions of genetic
tests needed to extract valuable medical information from advances in genomics
and proteomics. We believe this information will enable researchers to correlate
genetic variation and biological function, which will enhance drug discovery and
clinical research, allow diseases to be detected earlier, and permit better
choices of drugs for individual patients. 

"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of
1995: this release may contain forward-looking statements that involve risks and
uncertainties. Among the important factors that could cause actual results to
differ materially from those in any forward-looking statements are Illumina's
ability (i) to develop and commercialize further our BeadArray, VeraCode, and
Solexa technologies and to deploy new sequencing, gene expression, and
genotyping products and applications for our technology platforms, (ii) to
manufacture robust instrumentation and reagents technology, together with other
factors detailed in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission
including our recent filings on Forms 10-K and 10-Q or in information disclosed
in public conference calls, the date and time of which are released beforehand.
We disclaim any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements
beyond the date of this release. 

Maurissa Bornstein
Public Relations Manager
Peter J. Fromen
Sr. Director, Investor Relations
+1 858.202.4507
Oxford Nanopore Technologies
Dr Gordon Sanghera, CEO
Zoe McDougall, Communications
+44 870 486 1966

Copyright Business Wire 2009

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