Imperial leads university dash to cash in on appliance of science

The institution enjoyed a £10m windfall as it cashed in part of its shareholding in namesake Imperial Innovations

London’s Imperial College yesterday became the latest institution to profit from a growing appetite to commercialise the best of Britain’s skills in academic research and development.

The institution enjoyed a £10m windfall as it cashed in part of its shareholding in namesake Imperial Innovations – the fund that invests in bringing brain power to market.

Imperial College sold 2.5m shares at 400p, reducing its stake in the company from  30.2 per cent to 20 per cent. The sale came as Imperial Innovations completed a £150m placing of new shares, also at 400p, to fund investment by companies with which it is involved and new prospects.

Chief executive Martin Knight said the cash would help to attract new investment opportunities and help it back existing investments from inception to maturity.

He added: “We have identified opportunities to increase the capital deployed in a number of our leading portfolio companies which, in aggregate, are seeking to raise over £100m from investors over the next 12 months.”

He highlighted Circassia, a company based on Imperial College technology, which is developing treatments for cat allergies and was floated on the stock market in March, netting the fund group a profit of more than £8m.

Mr Knight added: “The strengthening of our balance sheet will greatly enhance our ability to attract high-quality investment opportunities.”

It has been a busy spell for universities seeking to spin out the technology companies they have founded. Applied Graphene Materials gained attention after the Durham University-originated firm came up with a method of producing the new “miracle” material in commercial quantities.

Following it on to the stock market was Arria NLG, a company whose data analysis techniques were developed at Aberdeen University and are used in predicting the weather and monitoring the performance of oil rigs.

Imperial Innovation’s new share placing received substantial backing from star fund manager Neil Woodford, whose former funds at Invesco Perpetual and his own new Woodford Investment Management took 15m and 12.5m of the 37.5m new shares being placed. Another existing shareholder, Lansdowne, the alternative investments fund manager, also acquired another 5.1m shares in the placing.

Imperial has expanded from investing in the single college’s research to include Oxford and Cambridge Universities and University College London. It now holds stakes in 96 companies. In the last full year (to July 2013) Imperial invested £22.2m and in the next six months £17.8m in its portfolio companies.

IP Group, another commercialisation vehicle, recently announced it was spreading its wings by signing a partnership to develop early-stage companies with Princeton University in New Jersey.

A report last October by Sir Andrew Witty, the chief executive of drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline, said universities had the capacity to build whole new export-friendly industries if they worked together.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager / Development Manager - NW London - £58k + 15% bonus

£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant / Telemarketer - OTE £20,000

£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manager - City, London

£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...