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Technical Tweaks

After making a big splash at the 2012 Advances in Genome Biology and Technology meeting in Marco Island, Fla., Oxford Nanopore kept fairly mum this year, as our sister publication In Sequence noted, citing arbitration and technical issues as possible causes.

Indeed, the company has been facing technical setbacks, blogger Nick Loman from Birmingham University writes at Pathogens: Genes and Genomes, drawing on a barroom conversation with Clive Brown, the company's chief technology officer, at AGBT.

The MinIon's senor chip wasn't working as the company liked, so that component had to be re-designed. "That put us back about 5 months, but it was the right thing to do," Brown told Loman. Loman also reports that the company is also working on keeping the lipid bilayer it uses from degrading and on reducing its error rate to 1 percent. Last year, as In Sequence reported at the time, the company announced it had a 4 percent error rate.

Oxford Nanopore declined to comment further, but did not deny any information from the blog post, saying it should have made it clearer that parts of the conversation were off the record, as it did with other news organizations.

Brown further expressed frustration to Loman that he and his company are repeatedly asked by both the community and the media about why they have not released data nor met their anticipated 2012 commercialization goal. Brown added that data from the company's early-access program should come out this year.