University College London (UCL), a leading UK university, is going to invest £50 million in what it hopes will be the next generation of university spin out companies over the next five years.
The fund, which was launched today, is designed to help academics and student entrepreneurs commercialise their research.
UCL said it will enable scientists to develop a proof of concept, fund licensing projects and create new spinout startups.
Academics working in life sciences, engineering, and information communication technology will be able to apply for investment out of the fund.
Several other universities in the UK have launched their own venture funds in recent years as they look to piggyback on the success of their academics’ work and cash in at the same time.
Last May, the University of Oxford launched the £300 million Oxford Sciences Innovation fund. Imperial Innovations (a fund set up by Imperial College London) has raised £346 million since going public on the London Stock Exchange in 2006.
Imperial Innovations is contributing £24.75 million to UCL’s new fund. The European Investment Fund, which is part of the European Union’s European Investment Bank, is contributing the same amount. The remaining £500,000 is coming from Albion Ventures, a London-based venture capital firm that will manage the fund.
UCL also runs a technology transfer company called UCL Business (UCLB). The university said UCLB has launched over 60 spin-out companies to commercialise intellectual property developed by UCL researchers. Recent UCLB spinouts include Freeline, which is developing gene therapies for blood disorders and Autolus, which is developing cancer immunotherapy treatment.
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