- Oxford Nanopore up 5.9% on sequencing tech selection
- Shares down 40% amid growth stock sell-off
- CEO confident of enabling even more discoveries
Shares in Oxford Nanopore Technologies (ONT) rallied 5.9% to 269.5p on the news the DNA sequencing company’s technology has been selected for the 1000 Genomes Project, led by University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital.
The Oxford university spin-out’s shares have lost roughly 40% of their value since last September’s initial public offering (IPO) priced at 425p amid the sell-off in loss-making growth stocks.
Yet buyers returned on the news as CEO Gordon Sanghera reminded the market how his big potential charge is ‘contributing to ongoing democratisation of DNA sequencing’.
ABOUT OXFORD NANOPORE
Oxford Nanopore, a past favourite of former star fund manager Neil Woodford, has developed a new generation of nanopore-based sensing technology allowing real-time analysis of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), a chemical which carries each person’s unique genetic code.
The company’s nanopore-based sensing technology is used in more than 100 countries to understand the biology of humans and diseases such as cancer, plants, animals, bacteria and viruses and Oxford Nanopore also provides rapid Covid-19 testing to the NHS.
SEQUENCING TECH SELECTED
Investors were excited by the news Oxford Nanopore’s sequencing technology has been selected for use by researchers at the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital.
The technology will be used by the 1000 Genomes Project initially to sequence 500 of the project’s samples.
The project’s goal is to ‘gain more scientific insights from the comprehensive genomic dataset and to create a catalogue of structural variation from a diverse set of individuals’, said Oxford Nanopore.
Evan Eichler, professor of Genome Sciences at the University of Washington, explained: ‘Long-read sequencing is discovering potential disease-causing structural variations that were previously missed by short reads. The challenge is interpreting these variants of unknown significance. Having a database of structural variants from unaffected diverse controls is key to pinpointing to the disease-causing events.’
As for Oxford Nanopore’s Sanghera, he commented: ‘As we know through Evan Eichler's earlier research, a significant fraction of all disease-causing variation is made up of variants that are larger than a single base-pair substitution, meaning that nanopore sequencing can reveal new insights throughout the genome.
‘So we are delighted that Oxford Nanopore has been selected for this important study and we look forward to it delivering accurate, affordable, scalable and comprehensive long read insight.
‘We are also pleased to be contributing to ongoing democratisation of DNA sequencing as this is an open data project, which we hope will enable even more discoveries.’
As Shares explained in January, Oxford Nanopore operates in a structural growth market and is playing the role of ‘David’ against dominant US ‘Goliath’ Illumina (ILMN:NASDAQ) which commands around 70% market share of the global DNA sequencing market.
Oxford Nanopore’s revenues grew by more than 17% to a £133.7 million in the year to December 2021, although net losses widened from £61.2 million to £167.6 million after IPO and share based payment costs and ongoing investment in the business to support long term growth.