Oxford Nanopore Technologies, United Kingdom

Description of organisation and previous experienceOxford

Oxford Nanopore Technologies Ltd is developing the GridION system, a new generation of technology that uses nanopores for the direct, electronic analysis of single molecules including DNA, RNA, proteins and other molecules. GridION has broad applications including scientific research, personalised medicine, crop science and security/defence.

The GridION system is designed to translate the key property of nanopore sensing (real-time, electronic analyses of single molecules) into an intelligent system with a new range of scientific and workflow benefits. Delivering analyses in real-time, experiments on the GridION system can be 'Run Until...' the user's biological question is answered. Based on standard semiconductor technology, each instrument in a GridION system is networked; the system is highly scalable for use by any user from individual researchers to large installations.

Oxford Nanopore is an associate partner in the ITFoM project because the GridION technology is poised to deliver rich, fast biological data with the potential to have a profound impact on personalised medicine. This information may be DNA sequence data or information about the presence of specific protein biomarkers in a biological sample. The progress of information and communication technologies in medicine is key to being able to translate these data into patient benefits.

With a broad patent portfolio, Oxford Nanopore's pipeline includes biological nanopores and solid-state nanopores for further improvements in speed and cost.


Profile of staff members

Dr Spike Willcocks Vice President, Business and Corporate Development

After completing an MA in Chemistry and DPhil in Biochemistry at the University of Oxford, Dr Willcocks became one of the initial members of IPGroup Plc following its landmark deal with the Chemistry Department at Oxford. Ultimately leading the Life Science team, Dr Willcocks' role encompassed all aspects of technology commercialisation, including spin-out company formation, business and corporate development as well as private and public equity financings.

Dr Willcocks gained a chemistry PhD at Oxford University, from where he became involved in the life sciences business.

Dr Willcocks was a key player in the creation of 14 life science businesses based on technology from three universities, leading proposals for the investment of £4m in seed financing from UK-based IPGroup, holding positions of Director and Chairman for 6 portfolio companies. Working alongside the executive teams of the portfolio companies, Dr Willcocks played an integral role in out-licensing transactions, co-development deals and acquisitions. As well as supporting fundraisings for portfolio biotechnology companies, raising an aggregate of £20m, Dr Willcocks also assisted with IPGroup's own IPO in October 2003 on the LSE, raising £30m and capitalising the company at over £100m. Dr Willcocks was actively involved in the establishment of ONL whilst at IP Group joining full time in January 2006.

At Oxford Nanopore, Dr Willcocks is central to the development of the GridION platform and the strategies for its adoption by users.



Oxford Nanopore Technologies



Publications relevant to the project

Oxford Nanopore's GridION Technology is currently in development and the Company has not disclosed key proprietary elements of the system's operation in publications. The Company does however have a network of collaborations with leading nanopore academics, whose discoveries are also developed in-house. A list of these publications can be found here: