Ten Of The Best University Spin-out Successes

Spin-outs are important for universities. Not just to show how their research impacts the world but to make money. Although their high-risk status means accessing funding is a challenge, this hasn’t stopped many UK universities from launching thousands of start-up businesses over the last 15 years. 

These spin-out companies demonstrate the best entrepreneurial talent emerging from Great Britain’s universities, as well some of the most cutting edge innovations in the fields of life sciences and technology.

Here’s ten of the most successful:

Ultravision: This company originally spun-out from the Welsh Institute for Minimal Access Therapy at Cardiff University in 2009.

Surgeons use Ultravision’s device to clear hazardous vapour created by medical instruments during operations known as surgical smoke. The product is now distributed in 25 countries.1

Clyde Biosciences: This company began at the University of Glasgow in 2012, and spun-out of the College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences.

Along with developing pioneering technology that evaluates drug toxicity2, it started work to develop a cure for Parkinson’s disease in 20153.

Spirogen: This biotechnology company spun-out of University College London in 2001 and focuses on antibody-drug technology which targets cancer tumours.

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca bought Spirogen in a deal worth £273 million in 20134, 5.

 NuCana Biomed: This spin-out from Edinburgh University, founded in 2008, develops anti-cancer medicines. Its technology bypasses key resistance mechanisms associated with anti-cancer drugs.

In April 2014 NuCana secured nearly £34 million in funding – the largest biotech investment in Scotland6.

Congenica: Launched by six world-leading scientists from Cambridge University, Congenica develop a platform that highlights genetic disorders and rare diseases.

Its technology already accurately diagnosed many previously un-diagnosable conditions in children. Genomics England awarded the company £2 million in 2015 to continue its research7.

C4X Discovery: This spin-out from Manchester University develops innovative technology which generates accurate 3D structures of drug molecules. This allows safer, quicker and more cost-effectively drug development.

The company debuted on the stock exchange in 2014, raising £11 million and receiving a market value of £31 million8.

Ex scientia: Originating from the University of Dundee, the biotech spin-out exploits novel informatics and experimental methods to enable the discovery of more effective drugs.

It signed a £3 million deal with a US pharmaceutical company in 2014 to produce medicines for phsychiatric disorders9.  

Lycotec: This biotech spin-out from Cambridge University is best known for its ‘anti-aging’ chocolate bar.

Esthechoc, the brand behind the Cambridge Beauty Chocolate, contains powerful antioxidants that improve the health of the skin10.

Bio Nano Consulting: A spin-out from University College London and Imperial College London, Bio Nano Consulting has designed a device that monitors kidney disease11.

Launched in 2015, the £10 device works in the same as a pregnancy test and could save the NHS millions of pounds a year12.

 Anacail: A Glasgow University spin-out, Anacail’s innovative tech sterilises food by breaking down the oxygen inside food containers.

The company is now developing products for application in healthcare settings, such as the sterilisation of medical devices13.

1.  http://www.walesonline.co.uk/business/business-news/cardiff-university-spinout-secures-21m-8953337

2. http://www.heraldscotland.com/business/company-news/glasgow-drug-testing-firm-gets-2m-investment-boost.123205900

3. http://www.heraldscotland.com/business/company-news/firm-aiming-to-develop-cure-for-parkinsons-raises-equity-through-crowdfunding.120269789

4. https://www.ucl.ac.uk/enterprise/enterprise-news/ucl-spin-out-spirogen-sold-to-astrazeneca-for-200-million

5. http://www.cityam.com/1412875957/london-scientific-powerhouse-and-it-s-about-more-nobel-prizes

6. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/business/business-science-technology/frontier-science-founder-eleanor-mcfadden-5116169

7. http://www.cabume.co.uk/medtech/2-2m-from-cambridge-vcs-for-clinical-genetic-disease-detector.html

8. http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/business/c4x-discovery-raises-11m-through-7984402

9. http://www.thecourier.co.uk/business/news/sunovion-pharmaceuticals-deal-for-new-dundee-biotech-firm-ex-scientia-ltd-1.660340

10. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11423029/Anti-ageing-chocolate-which-reduces-wrinkles-developed-by-Cambridge-University-spin-off.html

11. http://www.globaluniversityventuring.com/article.php/4386/bnc-targets-kidney-failure

12. http://www.laboratorytalk.com/news/pregnancy-tester-to-diagnose-kidney-disease/407338.article

13. http://www.bqlive.co.uk/2015/04/21/university-of-glasgow-spinout-secures-2m-funding/


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