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Chinese Nanopore Sequencing Firm Qitan Tech Nabs RMB 700M in Series C Round


NEW YORK – Chinese nanopore sequencing startup Qitan Tech said last month that it has completed a RMB 700 million ($103.7 million) Series C funding round.

The round was led by Meituan, with additional contribution from Capital Health Fund, which is managed by Huagai Capital, and BioTrack Capital.

With the money raised, Qitan said it will continue to improve its product portfolio and accelerate the launch of medium- and high-throughput sequencing platforms, as well as expand marketing efforts and commercialization.

Established in 2016 and headquartered in Chengdu in southwestern China's Sichuan province, Qitan said it is "committed to the research and development, manufacturing, and application development of nanopore sequencers."

According to Qitan’s website, the company’s cofounder and CSO, Jingwei Bai, obtained his Ph.D. in material sciences from the University of California, Los Angeles and completed his postdoctoral training in the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab. Bai also previously worked at Illumina in sequencing product R&D, the company said.

In December 2021, following five years of R&D, Qitan released its first protein nanopore sequencer, QNome-3841. According to the company, this was the first commercially available domestic nanopore sequencer within China. In June of last year, the company launched another sequencer, called QNome-3841hex.

According to company promotional materials, QNome-3841 is a handheld, low-throughput sequencing device that can accommodate one nanopore flow cell. It has a maximum read length of at least 2 Mb and can produce up to 3 Gb of sequencing data. Meanwhile, the QNome-3841hex contains six flow cells and can produce up to 18 Gb of data.

Qitan said it holds around 30 global patents. It is unclear whether the company’s technology has any overlap with that of Oxford Nanopore Technologies, which has been dominating the global nanopore sequencing market.