IP Group plc – Oxford Nanopore Technologies enters into strategic alliance with Illumina for new DNA sequencing technology

12 Jan 2009

IP  Group plc  (LSE: IPO) ("IP Group"  or  the "Company" or  "Group"),  the UK's leading university intellectual property commercialisation company, is delighted to note that portfolio company Oxford Nanopore Technologies Ltd ("Oxford Nanopore"), a spin-out
company from the University of Oxford that is developing a new DNA sequencing system, has today announced it has entered into a worldwide strategic alliance with NASDAQ-quoted Illumina Inc ("Illumina") for the development and commercialisation of its proprietary BASETM Technology for DNA sequencing.

Illumina  has  made an initial $18.0million   (£11.83million)  equity  investment in Oxford Nanopore that will fund accelerated development of its BASETM Technology. A further investment will be made at a significantly increased valuation upon Oxford Nanopore reaching an agreed technical milestone. Oxford Nanopore also announced that it has secured an additional £2.1million in private investment, raising a total of £13.9million through the two transactions.

As part of this strategic alliance, Illumina is granted exclusive worldwide rights for the
commercialisation of BASETM sequencing products. Oxford Nanopore and Illumina will share profits.

As a result of the completion of this transaction, IP Group announces that it has a 28.8%
beneficial shareholding in Oxford Nanopore and has recognised a total fair value gain on its holding of £3.2million.

Oxford Nanopore's new generation of sequencing system, BASETM Technology, 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 technology.

For further information, please contact:

IP Group plc                                                    +44(0)845 0742929
    Alan Aubrey, Chief Executive Officer
    Liz Vaughan-Adams (Communications)       +44(0)20 7444 0062
       +44(0)7979 853802

Financial Dynamics
    Ben Atwell, John Dineen                                 +44(0)20 7831 3113

Oxford Nanopore Technologies Ltd        +44 (0)870 486 1966
    Dr Gordon Sanghera, CEO
    Zoe McDougall, Communications

Notes for Editors

About IP Group

IP Group plc is an intellectual property (IP) commercialisation company that specialises in commercialising university technology. Founded in 2001, IP Group listed on AIM in October 2003 and moved to the Official List in June 2006. It has made two acquisitions to date - Techtran, a company set up to commercialise university intellectual property under a long term contract with the University of Leeds, in 2005 and Top Technology Ventures, an investment adviser to early stage technology venture capital funds, in 2004.

IP Group has formed long-term partnerships with ten universities - the University of Oxford, King's College London, CNAP/University of York, the University of Leeds, the University of Bristol, the University of Surrey, the University of Southampton, Queen Mary (University of London), the University of Bath and the University of Glasgow.

The Company's portfolio is diverse with exposure to five main sectors - Energy & Renewables, Healthcare & Life Sciences: Non-therapeutics, Healthcare & Life Sciences: Therapeutics, IT & Communications and Chemicals & Materials. To date, eleven portfolio
companies have listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange, one on PLUS Markets and there have been two trade sales.

For more information, please visit our website at

About Oxford Nanopore

Oxford Nanopore was founded in 2005 by Professor Hagan Bayley in partnership with IP Group plc. Since its inception, the Company has focused on developing the pioneering work of Professor Bayley, now Professor of Chemical Biology at the University of Oxford, 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.

In the summer of 2008, the company announced the creation of an exceptional Technology
Advisory Board, including leading nanopore academics from around the world.  It also announced a series of IP collaborations with leading institutions, allowing the Company to take a leadership position in the development of immediate and future generations of nanopore DNA sequencing technologies and other nanopore applications.

Oxford Nanopore is currently focused on the development of BASETM Technology, a new generation of DNA sequencing system that is label-free and sensitive at the single-molecule level.

Nanopores also have the potential to form the basis of other molecular analysis applications. These might include the identification of analytes other than nucleic acids, the analysis of molecular interactions such as between proteins or receptors/ligands, or ion-channel screening.

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.