Oxford's £300m plan to turn innovations into businesses

A new company, Oxford Sciences Innovation plc, will provide capital and scaling expertise to businesses driven by intellectual property (IP) developed in Oxford’s Mathematical, Physical, Life Sciences Division and Medical Sciences Divisions.

The University of Oxford and Isis Innovation, the University’s technology commercialisation subsidiary, haved launched a partnership with newly created Oxford Sciences Innovation plc (OSI) to develop the University’s world-leading scientific research and 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 University of Oxford aims to be a leader in innovation and entrepreneurship, building on its position as a world-leading centre of learning teaching and research. University staff have won a total of 32 Nobel prizes across Chemistry, Physics and Medicine. Oxford University was ranked number one for the quality of its research in the UK’s recent Research Excellence Framework and is consistently ranked among the top three universities in the world. The two science divisions are supported by a total research spend of over £400m annually.

The University 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.

In order to fund the next generation of spinout companies from the University, OSI will raise an initial £300m, with £210m already committed by six cornerstone investors: Invesco Asset Management Limited, IP Group plc, Lansdowne Partners (UK) LLP, Oxford University Endowment Fund, the Wellcome Trust and Woodford Investment Management LLP. 

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.