Abu Dhabi’s IHC invests $50.8mn in UK firm to boost COVID-19 testing

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Abu Dhabi-listed International Holdings Company (IHC) has invested $50.8 million in the UK-based Oxford Nanopore Technologies, which is scaling up its rapid coronavirus testing capability.

The Nanopore technology, developed by Oxford, is a unique form of sequencing and is a scalable technology that allows direct, real-time analysis of long DNA or RNA fragments. The investment is a part of its $110.09 million equity raising exercise.

The funds will promote further innovation and the acceleration of commercial and production activities, the company said in a statement.

The new generation of DNA/RNA sequencing technology has been commercialized by Oxford Nanopore and this is used by researchers to explore human genetics, cancer, infectious pathogens, genomics of plants and animals and environmental science.

Its technology is increasingly used in ‘applied markets’ to generate actionable insights, such as food safety or infectious disease, including COVID-19.

At present, the company is investing in the scale-up of LamPORE, its new coronavirus test. In other nations, further regulatory approvals are being sought for it including the Emergency Use Authorization in the United States and the UAE.

Syed Basar Shueb

“IHC has a strong track record in the healthcare device sector in the Middle East and we are very pleased to be expanding our interests globally. Oxford Nanopore has developed distinctive and proven technology and has been highly effective in taking products from innovation to market within tight timeframes.”

IHC has operations in the UAE, Middle East, Europe and North America through its 12 subsidiaries and owns assets ranging from real estate to financial services and manufacturing.

“We are delighted to welcome IHC as an investor in Oxford Nanopore,” said Dr Gordon Sanghera, CEO of Oxford Nanopore.

“Our international shareholder base reflects the international ambitions of Oxford Nanopore, as our technology is now used to answer important biological questions in more than 100 countries,” he added.

In 2019, Oxford Nanopore opened a new high-tech factory in Oxford, to cater to the accelerating demand for its sequencing products.