Oxford Nanopore Technologies acquires uOttawa Deep Tech spinout Northern Nanopore Instruments

Faculty of Science

By Bernard Rizk

Media Relations Officer, External Relations, uOttawa

Oxford Nanopore Technologies acquires uOttawa Deep Tech spinout Northern Nanopore Instruments
Acquisition of uOttawa deep tech spinout highlights the benefits of fostering entrepreneurship on campus.

Nanopores—molecule-sized holes in thin membranes—hold immense potential for analyzing a wide range of biological and non-biological molecules, including DNA/RNA, proteins, metabolites, and more. The recent acquisition of Northern Nanopore Instruments (NNi), a startup incubated since 2020 at the Faculty of Science of the University of Ottawa, by Oxford Nanopore Technologies PLC (Oxford Nanopore), highlights the potential for effective entrepreneurial support when translating novel technologies from lab to market.

Following this acquisition, Oxford Nanopore is also forming a new partnership with the University of Ottawa, further solidifying the company’s commitment to innovation and their investment in the Canadian biotech ecosystem. Under the newly formed partnership, the NNi team will collaborate closely with Oxford Nanopore and researchers from the Tabard-Cossa lab in uOttawa’s Faculty of Science to further develop and scale solid-state nanopore technology, with the potential aim of making solid-state nanopore arrays for single-molecule biosensing.

Louis Barriault, Dean, Faculty of Science and Alexandre Poulain, Vice-Dean Innovation & Strategic Partnership, said "We are immensely proud to witness the fruition of our commitment to nurturing research commercialization at the Faculty of Science. The acquisition of Northern Nanopore Instruments by Oxford Nanopore Technologies marks a significant milestone in our journey to bridge academic innovation with real-world applications. This collaboration not only showcases the high-calibre research being conducted within our faculty but also underscores the importance of investing in programs and resources that support the entrepreneurial endeavours of our scholars. As we celebrate this achievement, we are more encouraged than ever to continue fostering an environment where scientific discovery and innovation can thrive, ultimately leading to more groundbreaking advancements in the field of nanopore technology.”

“Joining forces with Oxford Nanopore is a major step towards scaling solid-state nanopore technologies. Their proven track record in developing and successfully commercializing arrays of biological nanopores makes them the ideal partner to scale the controlled breakdown method of nanopore fabrication. Together, we aim to advance solid-state nanopore technology through a collaborative effort between Oxford Nanopore and my lab at the University of Ottawa. I’m grateful for the support of the local community and the dedicated efforts of my colleagues at the University of Ottawa to help me and the NNi team navigate the entrepreneurship journey,” said Professor Vincent Tabard-Cossa, uOttawa Department of Physics.

NNi CEO Kyle Briggs emphasized the unique opportunity presented by joining forces with Oxford Nanopore. “Oxford Nanopore is an ideal partner with whom to develop solid-state nanopore technology. They are unique, both in understanding the potential of solid-state nanopore technology and the challenges to its realization, and in their clearly demonstrated ability to navigate those challenges. We are very excited to be joining the team that brought nanopore-based sequencing from the academic lab all the way to success on a global scale, and we look forward to integrating our solid-state nanopore expertise with their experience in scaling deep tech to make the potential of solid-state nanopores a reality.”