MinION™ is a portable device for molecular analyses that was developed by Oxford Nanopore

New partnership to boost development of world-class science and technology businesses

A new partnership aims to build on Oxford’s impressive track record in creating spinout companies, creating many more businesses which will stand among the world’s leading science-based enterprises.

The University of Oxford and Isis Innovation, the University’s technology commercialisation subsidiary, have launched a partnership with newly created Oxford Sciences Innovation plc (OSI) to develop the University’s world-leading scientific research.

Together, they will work with Oxford University’s academics to commercialise their ideas into market-leading companies.

OSI has been contractually established as the University’s preferred partner for the provision of capital for spinout companies based on research from the Mathematical, Physical, Life Sciences and Medical Sciences divisions. This will include establishing new IP-driven businesses together with Isis Innovation and providing investment capital, as well as advice.

The partnership builds on the University’s position as a world-leading centre of learning teaching and research. It also has a long track-record of developing global science and technology businesses through Isis Innovation. Isis has established over 100 spinout companies based on technology developed by University of Oxford researchers since 2000, including eight in the last year. 

Spinouts valued in excess of £200m include Oxford Nanopore Technologies Limited and NaturalMotion. Others include AIM and Nasdaq listed companies such as Velocys and Oxford Immunotec respectively.

OSI will raise an initial £300m to fund spinout companies, with £210m already committed by six cornerstone investors: Invesco Asset Management Limited (acting on behalf of its discretionary managed funds), IP Group plc, Lansdowne Partners (UK) LLP, Oxford University Endowment Management, the Wellcome Trust and Woodford Investment Management LLP. Credit Suisse is acting as the sole placement agent.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, Professor Andrew Hamilton, said: 'Oxford University is a long-established engine of global economic growth. Spinouts based on our research have an impressive track record of generating innovative breakthroughs and new employment regionally, nationally and internationally.

'Oxford Sciences Innovation is an exciting new development which will significantly expand the funding and commercial expertise available to our research teams. Oxford University looks forward to working closely with our partners at OSI and together creating many more companies which will stand among the world’s leading science-based enterprises.'

OSI will be chaired by David Norwood, the founder of IP Group plc, the intellectual property business behind the commercialisation of Oxford Nanopore, a technology company developing innovative systems for analysis of single molecules, including DNA, RNA and proteins.

Mr Norwood said: 'The University of Oxford has been the birthplace of some of the best science in the world and some of the biggest ideas in history. The agreement with OSI and the strength of the cornerstone investors create a fantastic opportunity to turn world-leading science into market-leading companies and the opportunity to create significant value for all stakeholders.'

Tom Hockaday, CEO of Isis Innovation, said: 'This landmark investment is a vote of confidence in the extraordinary potential of Oxford technologies. It builds on the strong foundation laid over the last 20 years of successful spinouts formed through Isis Innovation which have provided excellent returns to investors.

'We have already started discussing the first investments with OSI, who are working in an inclusive manner with our existing investor community, recognising the importance of all those involved in supporting the Oxford innovation ecosystem.'