Oxford Nanopore is developing a range of electronic products for nanopore sensing of biological molecules. These include the handheld USB-compatible MinION™ device, the desktop PromethION™ instrument and the modular GridION™ system. Potential analytes include DNA, RNA/miRNA and proteins.
Oxford Nanopore is bringing these devices to market using a novel process of large-scale collaborative access programmes that are supported by a central support team and online community. These will segue into a commercial phase. The MinION Access Programme (MAP) started in 2014.
Please find below answers to a selection of frequently asked questions. If you are interested in registering your details to receive further information about these products as the information becomes available, please use our contact form.
What are the performance specifications of MinION, PromethION and GridION?
Oxford Nanopore does not provide traditional/comparative throughput or accuracy specifications for DNA sequencing or other applications. Not only does this vary between applications but the systems are tunable to allow users to set off some parameters against others. The features of nanopore sequencing (for example very long read lengths, analysis of complementary strands of DNA, data analysis methods) differ from other technologies and so, a direct comparison to other technologies at the level of raw data is difficult to make.
Oxford Nanopore therefore encourages those interested in a nanopore system to question whether the novel properties of the device may be of benefit to their application as well as contemplating traditional parameters. Performance of the systems is evolving rapidly as improvements are delivered regularly to participants within the MAP.
- The MinION device is a miniaturised, USB-compatible device designed to conduct hundreds of nanopore experiments at one time with a total available run time of hours to days. A broad range of applications are currently being explored in the MAP.
- PromethION is a desktop instrument designed for higher-throughput experiments or for a larger number of samples. Tens of thousands of nanopores are run either simultaneously on one sample or divided between multiple samples.
- The GridION system is designed to be scalable. An individual unit, a node, is designed to work alone as a benchtop instrument or in conjunction with other nodes to provide a faster result/more power.
- Throughput of all systems is influenced by multiple factors including how fast the DNA is processed through each nanopore and the number of simultaneous nanopore experiments per instrument/sample. The systems do not have a fixed run time; users may choose to run for minutes or days according to the experimental need.
What is the run time?
There is no fixed run time; the system may be run for a short or long period of time according to the experimental need.
- Because full length read data is streamed in real time, it may be analysed in real-time. MinIONs, PromethIONs and GridION nodes can therefore be "Run until..." sufficient data has been collected to answer the experimental question.
What read lengths does the system give?
The system processes the lengths of DNA that are presented to it rather than 'generating' a read length. It is designed to process very long read lengths; tens of kb in a single read consisting of both strands of a template molecule, using a hairpin sample prep.
How much will the systems cost?
Although prices are not available at this time, it is our goal to make the MinION affordable to a broad range of users.
The MAP participants are paying a deposit of $1,000 for each MinION and can choose to pay for supplementary flow cells and preparation kits to be shipped in addition to the continual standard deliveries.
Pricing structures for MinION, PromethION and GridION will be different from conventional sequencing systems. Oxford Nanopore plans to provide greater flexibility with pricing structures than are typically available for bioanalytical machines, including sequencing instruments. A range of pricing options will allow customers to choose from there being no extensive capital investment to paying an upfront fee with a lower ongoing consumable price. Volume-based discounts are expected to be provided in a transparent manner and will be available to all users.
Will I need to purchase any additional kit to run the systems?
MinION requires a laptop of sufficient performance. PromethION and GridION nodes are fitted with local computing hardware; you will not need to purchase a dedicated server for the system
- Application-specific sample preparation kits will be available to purchase, however users may also experiment with their own methods of library preparation. Some basic laboratory equipment would be needed.
Can I order a system now? Can I access the technology through an Access Programme?
Commercial orders are not being taken at this time. A large number of users are working with MinION in the MinION Access Programme, which is being expanded over time – please register here if you would like to join the MAP.
Oxford Nanopore intends to start an access programme for PromethION, however details have not been released at this time. It is likely that most of the first participants will be invited from current MAP participants.
Orders are not yet being taken for the systems, however you may register your interest using our contact form and we will keep you updated.
Can protein analysis be carried out on the MinION, PromethION and GridION?
Oxford Nanopore has developed methods of analysing proteins using its proprietary nanopore-based systems. The product is not yet commercially available, as the Company continues to develop these methods and the commercial product. More information will be disclosed in due course.