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Amgen to invest £50M in UK DNA sequencing company

Amgen Inc. will invest £50 million in Oxford Nanopore Technologies Ltd., a privately owned company developing portable, real-time genetic sequencing technology.

U.K.-based Oxford Nanopore specializes in scalable technologies for DNA sequencing, where a sample is studied to determine the arrangement within a complex structure of nucleotides, the building blocks of DNA and RNA.

Iceland-based deCODE Genetics, a subsidiary of Amgen, already uses Oxford Nanopore's technology in its genome research.

"Oxford Nanopore's long-read sequencing capability creates a window into parts of the genome that have been out of reach, as well as giving us a much better handle on structural variants that confer risk of a wide variety of diseases," said deCODE Genetics Founder Kári Stefánsson. "We have used Oxford Nanopore technology to sequence several hundred human genomes and continue to see the promise of this emerging technology."

Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based Amgen produces a range of drugs for serious illnesses, including heart diseases, inflammation, bone problems and conditions of the nervous system.