Oracle to invest £150m in Oxford Nanopore
Pedestrians walk past a sign directing people to a rapid lateral flow Covid-19 testing centre at London Bridge train Station in central London on April 5, 2021. (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
OXFORD Nanopore’s London float efforts received a boost as software major Oracle will invest £150m in the British biotech unicorn.
Oracle will become a cornerstone investor when the genome sequencing company issues shares in its initial public offering (IPO) later this year.
The partnership enables the Covid testing kit developer to use the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure for its DNA/RNA sequencing technology to boost its reach.
Spun out Oxford University in 2005, the biotech company’s platform accounts for about a fifth of coronavirus sequencing globally.
Oxford Nanopore was valued at £2.4 billion when it raised £195m in May this year and its valuation is expected to reach at least £3bn when it floats on the London Stock Exchange, although analysts at Jefferies said its market capitalisation could soar to £4.5bn.
Co-founded by Gordon Sanghera, the company said it intends to have a free float of 25 per cent after its IPO which will include a mix of existing shares and fresh issue. However, the price band of the shares on offer is not known yet.
Its efforts to float in London are in contrast to the trend of biotech companies heading to New York seeking better valuations.
Headquartered in Oxford, the company won major contracts from the UK government to supply coronavirus testing kits to the NHS at the height of the pandemic.
However, the unicorn, in which the IP Group owns a stake, is yet to make profits but analysts feel it will swing into the black in 2026.