NOTTINGHAM businesses which began life as research projects earned a return of more than £11 million for the University of Nottingham last year.
The scale of the return has been revealed by Nottingham Technology Ventures (NTV), the organisation which manages the University’s interest in a portfolio of 18 spin-out companies.
These companies have developed a range of advanced products and services for industries which range from agriculture and the environment to healthcare and manufacturing.
The £11m return will be reinvested in supporting the University’s core mission of creating a learning environment which inspires students and carrying out research which leads to transformative discovery.
NTV’s work in managing the portfolio means it plays an important role in helping the University nurture projects that can be commercialised to benefit the local and regional economy through jobs and financial gain, and wider society by developing products and services which address major challenges.
NTV’s team, led by CEO Andrew Naylor, advises on investments the University makes into spin-out companies from two funds. It also supports the progress of those investments and uses its expertise to help build valuable shareholdings and secure a return from them in a way which benefits the businesses and the University.
Andrew Naylor said: “This has been a landmark year for the University’s spin-out portfolio. We’re immensely proud to have played a part in advising on some truly ground-breaking businesses and in helping the University achieve a record return from its shareholdings.
“That return is also a tribute to an expert Intellectual Property Commercialisation Office at the University which has a long track record of identifying the value in research projects, nurturing and developing potential, and bringing transformative products to market.”
NTV and the University have a different approach to more traditional investment funds, combining in-house academic and technical expertise with specialist commercial knowledge which suits the needs of projects which may take time to come to fruition.
Spin-out successes during the year included early cancer detection company Oncimmune, where £5 million was raised from the sale of shares, and cancer research spin-out CrownBio Inc., where the sale of the University’s stake raised £3.6m.
They follow in the footsteps of Monica Healthcare, which developed a foetal heart monitor later acquired by industry giant GE Healthcare.
NTV is based at the University of Nottingham Innovation Park (UNIP), one of the biggest concentrations of research commercialisation in the Midlands. NTV works hand-in-hand with the IP Commercialisation Office to identify and support research projects that have long-term commercial potential.
Professor Dame Jessica Corner, the Pro Vice Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange at the University of Nottingham, said: “Research into the ideas and industries of the future is central to the contribution which the University makes to the world around us, and the professional expertise we have within NTV is vital in helping us to fulfil that mission. “The financial return that has been achieved demonstrates both the sheer scale of innovation being driven by our research teams and our ability to translate that into valuable real-world outcomes.”