On the 2nd June Chancellor Alistair Darling visited UMIC’s Core Technology Facility building in Manchester to meet two successful biotech spin-outs, Renovo (LSE:RNVO) and Epistem (LSE:EHP). The Core Technology Facility was established with NWDA and ERDF funding to provide grow-on incubator space for biotechnology and high-tech early stage companies.
Although Darling was in Manchester to officially launch the Manchester Independent Economic Review – a major study into Manchester’s economic potential ndash; he specifically requested a chance to look around company laboratories and to meet company executives.
Professor Mark Ferguson, Renovo’s CEO explains: “We were pleased to show the Chancellor around Renovo including our recent expansion to new facilities on the first floor of the Core Technology Facility. He saw first-hand our development of novel pharmaceutical drugs to reduce scarring and accelerate healing.”
Mark continues: “We discussed the challenges facing biotechnology companies like Renovo. We’ve grown from just 2 founders – Dr Sharon O’Kane and myself – and spun out of The University of Manchester as a private VC backed company in 2000. Renovo now has over 180 full time employees, we are publicly listed on the main list of the London Stock Exchange, and we spend close to £30 million per annum on research and development.”
During the Chancellor’s visit, Peter Sanderson, chairman of The University of Manchester Intellectual Property Limited (UMIP), presented an overview of the University’s IP commercialisation activities. Ernie Richardson, CEO of MTI Partners, expressed his enthusiasm for ideas developed at the University now in the process of commercialisation.
MTI Partners are the fund managers for the recently-launched £32 million UMIP Premier Fund. Ernie comments: “We have seen evidence of some incredible ideas within the research departments of The University of Manchester. This Fund will enable those researchers to gain access to the finance and business skills to turn their ideas into real business – what could be more exciting?”