CTO Clive Brown announces new Oxford Nanopore sequencing and library prep devices during his keynote address to the company’s user group conference

Stop the presses! Not something we call on a regular basis at FLG towers because, well, our work is largely digital. But when the latest news from Oxford Nanopore landed on our desks this afternoon, this old print journalism adage felt rather apt.


Clive Brown, CTO of Oxford Nanopore, talks at the London Calling Conference, via Oxford Nanopore

Yesterday, in his keynote address to the company’s user group conference in London, CTO Clive Brown announced the development of a new smartphone-powered nanopore sequencer, whimsically (and very Britishly) named ‘SmidgION’.

“Even I can’t believe they let me get away with that name,” chuckled Clive during his presentation


Tiny SmidgION is currently in early-stage development

With 256 channels per flow cell, SmidgION will be smaller than the company’s existing MinION device, and is expected to come to market in 2017. 

MinION has established itself as a versatile field device, and is set to make history later this year as the first device used to sequence DNA in space. With SmidgION Oxford Nanopore are continuing to appeal to the field researcher, with potential applications in monitoring disease outbreaks, and real-time species identification in the fight against wildlife crime. 

Brown also revealed Project Zumbador, also in early development, a combined sample and library prep device that would deliver DNA captured on beads directly into the flow cell. Event attendee and one of our favourite genomics bloggers Keith Robison (Omics! Omics!) shared some images of the early prototype during his twitter coverage.

Note – Keith has now written his own coverage of the Oxford Nanopore announcements, including a photo diary in which he takes his personalised MinION device on a bike ride around London.

Interestingly, Brown also announced that Oxford Nanopore are no longer selling devices that contain the R7 nanopore. R7 has given way to R9, the company’s name for a membrane protein derived from Escherichia coli. This development may help the company to side-step a recent legal challenge from Illumina, which claimed that the R7 pore infringed a patent license. Oxford Nanopore licensed the new pore from VIB in Belgium and University College London in March 2016.

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