• We are catalysts for innovation, commercialising next-generation technologies developed by

    The University of Manchester’s world-class research base

    • £360m+ invested by venture funders

    • 40+ spin-out companies created

    • 7,500+ licences and IP partnerships concluded

    • 4,000+ invention disclosures received

    • £115m+ IP and R&D revenue generated for the University

  • We are catalysts for innovation, commercialising next-generation technologies developed by The University of Manchester’s world-class research base

    • £300m+ invested by venture funders since 2004

    • 40+ spin-out companies created

    • 4,800+

      licences and IP partnerships concluded

    • 3,700+ invention disclosures received

    • 1,300+ jobs generated across various industry sectors

    • £105m+ IP and R&D revenue generated for the University

Archive for February, 2013

IP Group signs a flagship intellectual property commercialisation agreement with The University of Manchester

IP Group plc (LSE: IPO) (“IP Group” or “the Company” or “the Group”), the developer of intellectual property based businesses, is delighted to announce that it has signed a commercialisation agreement with The University of Manchester (“the University”) which will be operated by its technology transfer company, UMI3 Limited (“UMI3”).

The University of Manchester, a member of the Russell Group, is one of the country’s major research universities. According to the results of the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, the University is rated third in the UK in terms of ‘research power’, behind only Oxford and Cambridge. The University has a long history of innovation, having designed and built the world's first stored-program electronic digital computer as well as being responsible for the birth of ‘aeroacoustics’ (how to minimise sound created in jet engines). It is now also the home of the BP International Centre for Advanced Materials, the National Graphene Institute and the project office of the Square Kilometre Array at The University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank Observatory.

Under the terms of the agreement, IP Group will create a Proof of Principle (“PoP”) funding facility for the identification and formation of new spin-out companies. The Group has agreed to make available an initial facility of up to £5 million to provide capital to new proof of principle projects intended for commercialisation through spin-out companies. In return, IP Group will receive equity stakes in such spin-out companies on pre-agreed terms. IP Group has the right to invest further in these companies as they progress.  In addition, IP Group will provide access to its relevant experts, business building expertise, mentoring, coaching and co-investing networks, recruitment and business support.

The agreement, which is a for a minimum term of four years, or five years subject to certain conditions, covers the majority of the areas of materials and clean technology, electronics and communications and all non-therapeutic life, medical and human sciences and information technology.

Alan Aubrey, Chief Executive of IP Group, said: “Manchester has an outstanding reputation in research, ranking third in the UK, as well as an impressive track record of innovation. This agreement augments our existing partnerships while also giving the Group access to an additional source of extremely high quality dealflow. We have been impressed not only with the pipeline of opportunities at the University but also with the professionalism of the technology transfer team. We are pleased to have entered into this agreement and look forward to working with the UMI3 team and making our first investments.”

Clive Rowland, CEO of the University of Manchester Innovation Group, said: “IP Group offers excellent access to public market funding and expertise in university technology transfer developed over many years, and at a significant scale, which will be very valuable to the University in continuing to expand its spin-out activities. A far horizon of proof-of-principle and connected follow-on funding is critical to the success of university propositions, as is a deep understanding of early stage technology investing which makes IP Group an ideal partner for us. Therefore we are very pleased to see IP Group as part of the University’s enterprise community. I’m sure that this arrangement will be successful in improving the scale, quality and speed of companies spinning out from the University.”

For more information, please contact:


IP Group plc


Alan Aubrey, Chief Executive Officer            

+44 (0) 20 7444 0050

Liz Vaughan-Adams, Communications   

+44 (0) 20 7444 0062 / +44 (0) 7979 853 802


FTI Consulting (for IP Group)


Ben  Atwell, John Dineen

+44 (0) 20 7831 3113





Clive Rowland, Chief Executive

+44 (0)161 603 7750

Press office: Allan Prits

+44 (0)161 606 7240

Notes for editors

About IP Group

IP Group is a leading UK intellectual property ("IP") commercialisation company, developing technology innovations primarily from its research intensive partner universities. The Group offers more than traditional venture capital, providing its companies with access to business building expertise, networks, recruitment and business support.

The Company's portfolio comprises holdings in over 60 companies including Oxford Nanopore Technologies, the DNA sequencing development company, Revolymer, best known for its removable chewing gum and Xeros, which has received many accolades for its revolutionary clothes washing techniques with a much reduced requirement for water.

The portfolio includes early stage to mature businesses and has exposure to five main sectors – Energy & Renewables, Medical Equipment & Supplies, Pharma & Biotech, IT & Communications and Chemicals & Materials. To date, fifteen of the portfolio companies IP Group has backed have listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange and one on ISDX.

Founded in 2001, IP Group listed on AIM in October 2003 and moved to the Official List in June 2006.

For more information, please visit our website at www.ipgroupplc.com.

About the University of Manchester

Established in 1824, The University of Manchester is a member of the Russell Group and is one of is the most popular universities in the UK.

Key facts:

> Four faculties, 20 academic schools and hundreds of specialist research groups undertaking pioneering multi-disciplinary teaching and research of worldwide significance

> Over 5,500 academic and research staff

> Over £271 million in external research funding in 2011/12

> 25 Nobel Prize winners amongst its current and former staff and students

According to the results of the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, The University of Manchester is now one of the country’s major research universities, rated third in the UK in terms of ‘research power’. The University had an annual income of £807 million in 2011/12.


About UMI3 Ltd

The University of Manchester Innovation Group (UMI3 Ltd) is the University’s innovation company. Since 2004, through UMIP, its technology transfer division, its achievements include:

> Over 2,300 invention disclosures received

> 30 spin-out companies created

> Over 310 licences and assignments

> £32M UMIP Premier Fund

> £225M has been invested by venture funders in University of Manchester spin-outs

> £55M + generated by IP Enterprises

The University of Manchester has over a 20 year history of IP commercialisation.




F2G Ltd. Appoints John H. Rex to Board of Directors

Manchester February 19th 2013 F2G Ltd, the UK-based antifungal drug
discovery and development company, today announced the appointment of Dr.
John H. Rex to the Company’s Board as an Independent Director. Dr. Rex is a
distinguished research scientist and recognized as an opinion leader in the field
of infectious disease therapy and, in particular, for antifungal agents. He has a
BA in Biochemistry from Rice University, an MD from Baylor College of Medicine,
and is Vice President and Head of Infection, Global Medicines Development, at

Prior to joining AstraZeneca in 2003, Dr. Rex was Professor of Medicine at the
University of Texas Medical School-Houston. Dr. Rex has been the Industry
Representative on the US FDA Anti-Infective Drug Advisory Committee (2007-
2011), is Vice-Chair of the Consensus Committee on Microbiology for the Clinical
Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI, formerly NCCLS), is a Highlights Advisor
for Nature Reviews Microbiology, is a member of the Wellcome Trust Seeding
Drug Discovery Committee, serves on several editorial boards, was formerly an
Editor for Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, and is an Emeritus Editor for
www.doctorfungus.org, a non-profit web site devoted to dissemination of
information about medical mycology.

Dr. Richard White, Executive Chairman of F2G, commented, “We are delighted
to have John join the board and look forward to benefiting from the breadth and
depth of his knowledge and experience in the antifungal arena”.

Dr. Rex will become a key member of the Board’s Science Committee, chaired
by Dr. Raj Parekh, who remarked “John’s counsel will be critical in helping F2G
successfully develop its totally novel class of drugs to treat Aspergillosis – a
potentially life-threatening infection usually affecting the lungs.”

Dr. Rex, who will continue his role at AstraZeneca, added, “This is an exciting
time to be involved with F2G and participate in bringing a new class of antifungal
agents into clinical practice. Aspergillosis remains a serious disease in an era of
increasing resistance with few treatment options. In addition, I view this
opportunity to work with F2G as a chance to collaborate and bring insights from
the biotechnology sector into the anti-infective development work at

About F2G Ltd: Based in Manchester, UK, F2G Ltd is dedicated to the discovery
and development of new and clinically superior drug classes to treat lifethreatening
systemic fungal infections in at-risk patient populations. This is a
growing health risk for which there are currently limited treatment options and for
which demand is increasing globally Market growth is expected to increase with
the emergence of new clinical indications in allergies and asthma.

For more information visit www.f2g.com



The University of Manchester and Graphene Commercialisation: Assumptions and Realities

The University of Manchester and Graphene Commercialisation:  Assumptions and Realities

The European Commission has announced that it is providing 1bn euros over 10 years for research and development into graphene – the ‘wonder material’ isolated at The University of Manchester by Nobel Prize winners Professors  Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov.

The University is very active in technology transfer and has an excellent track-record of spinning out technology, but some think that the University has taken a different view when it comes to patenting and commercialising graphene.  Others have expressed a broader concern about British Industry lagging behind in the graphene ‘race’, based upon international ‘league tables’ of numbers of graphene patents.

A recent interview with Clive Rowland (CEO of the University’s Innovation Group) addresses the assumptions about the University’s approach and reflects more generally about graphene patenting and about industry up-take of graphene.   The interview is summarised below.


Has the University set up any commercial graphene activities?


The University owns a company, called 2-DTech Limited, which makes and supplies two-dimensional materials and has an interest in another, Graphene Industries Limited, which sells graphene made by a different technique to 2-DTech.


Is the University falling behind in graphene?


The University is the world’s leading university for graphene research and publications.  It led the charge for UK investment into the field and has been awarded The National Graphene Institute, which will be a £61m state-of-the art centre.  This Institute will act as a focus for all sorts of commercial graphene activity in Manchester, from industrial research and development laboratories locating “alongside” the Institute, developing new processes and products, to start-up companies.  The University championed the major flagship research funding programmes that have been initiated in the UK and Europe and has been awarded a number of prestigious grants.  Graphene is still a science-driven research field and not yet a commercialised technology.


Did the University miss the patent opportunities for graphene when it was first isolated?


All options were considered thoroughly prior to and immediately post the initial 2004 publication. There were no credible or commercially valuable patent options at that time, something with which experts in the field agree. The material will need to be modified for most applications.  The key is a scaled-up manufacturing technology platform which no-one has yet come up with. The University has patented where it sees good cases for doing so.  These are based upon internal development projects on the fundamentals, such as manufacturing and coatings and approaches that enable new techniques which might lead to commercial applications.   The University will continue to patent where it sees potential financial value in doing so. Not all of the University’s intellectual property transfer transactions take place through independent patenting.  Patenting is just a part of the commercial strategy – not the sole aspect, nor a target in itself.


Have British firms lost out to the Far East on patenting?


The picture is more complex than mere number counting suggests.  Not all of the patents necessarily equal real business opportunities. Some of the patents reference graphene rather than being about graphene technology.   Japanese firms were very active early on but have since been overtaken by Korean and US firms. China is getting very active but much of the patenting there is by research institutions rather than firms, which isn’t the experience elsewhere, so it’s difficult to know the level of corporate capabilities there.  Much of the early work on graphene was – and still is – for electronic and related applications. So much of the patenting activity has been by electronics firms, which reflect that industry’s structure and geography  –  predominantly in the Far East and the US.  Competition in graphene is at an early stage.  There are many significant aspects which aren’t yet addressed.  There is still time.  As the uses of graphene become clearer, more opportunities for British companies will open up.  Nevertheless the window of opportunity could narrow.  It’s vital that more British firms increase their knowledge of two-dimensional materials like graphene.  For Britain to be successful, graphene will need to be treated as a project on a very large scale.  To keep themselves in the picture, British firms should invest now in long-range R&D, and engage in university research partnerships and collaborative projects.   The National Graphene Institute at the University is an excellent place to do this.


Are the Nobel Prize Winners interested in the commercial side of graphene?


Professor Geim and Professor Novoselov focus on science, which is key to the success of the development aspects that everyone is interested in.  At the same time they have been very supportive of their students engaging in enterprise activities, such as business training courses and start-ups. They both actively lent their support to help set up the two existing companies.  Much of the graphene commercialisation will be through collaboration with companies with the requisite product know-how and manufacturing facilities.  During the last year, more than 100 firms have been to the University to talk with them.  They see everyone that they can to discuss possibilities.  They recognise there’s potential for the University to licence-out graphene intellectual property and they support such efforts by the technology transfer office as appropriate.

You can read the full interview with Clive Rowland at www.umi3.com

Further Information.

Recently published reports by Philip Shapira (Manchester Business School) and colleagues at Georgia Institute of Technology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Beijing Institute of Technology, set the graphene patenting landscape into context, showing the place that patenting has in an emerging technology field and explore entry strategies adopted by small and medium sized firms in a new field like graphene.

The references are:

Entry strategies in an emerging technology: a pilot web-based study of graphene firmsby Sanjay K. Arora, Jan Youtie, Philip Shapira, Lidan Gao, TingTing Ma – Scientometrics, January 2013

Early patterns of commercial activity in grapheneby Philip Shapira, Jan Youtie, Sanjay Arora – Journal of Nanoparticle Research, 14: 811,March 2012.


UMI3 – inspire, invent, innovate

Release date:  18 February 2013

University of Manchester Innovation Centre welcomes student entrepreneurs

IQuBit at UMIC

On 6th February, The University of Manchester Innovation Centre, UMIC, welcomed 25 student entrepreneurs to the launch of its digital accelerator, IQuBiT. IQuBit, located in UMIC’s Core Technology Facility on Grafton Street, aims to inspire, invent and innovate a new generation of software, social networking and digital ventures and supports ideas for information and communication technology based products and services created by researchers, students or recent alumni from the University.

Welcoming words were given by UMIP’s Head of Sales and Marketing, Tony Walker and The University’s Vice-President for Research and Innovation, Professor Luke Georghiou, presented the University’s plans both to encourage and further support student entrepreneurship and to facilitate the progression of student innovation through this dedicated facility.

Professor Georghiou explained: “We aim to equip our students with the skills, means and appetite to start up fast-growing businesses that combine the knowledge and education they have received with their own enterprising ideas. IQuBit is an important new development in extending the University’s contribution to economic growth and employment.”

Student entrepreneurs were represented by Fahim Sachedina, President of the Manchester Entrepreneurs Society and Stan Reinholds, Network Officer for the National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs, NACUE.

Fahim commented: “IQuBit offers a fantastic opportunity for enterprising students from the University to be able to work and collaborate with other individuals, and take their ambitions to another level. Manchester Entrepreneurs are incredibly grateful to have this opportunity. Our ambition is to be able to foster an enterprising culture at the University and we are one step closer in turning that vision into reality.”

Stan commented further: “The Launch of IQuBit is a landmark event. It is one of few student-led initiatives of its kind in the whole of the UK and I am confident it will impact the wider enterprise community. NACUE will be supporting development of IQuBit from here on, positioning the accelerator as a strong student enterprise hub in Manchester and a recognised high-impact facility in the North of England.”

So if you have an idea, or perhaps are already underway but would like to be based in a supportive environment, or just curious to find out more, please contact us for an informal and confidential discussion.

Ellie Sagar, IQuBit – Assistant Project Manager,ellie.sagar@umi3.com, 0161 606 7265.

University of Manchester and UMIP finalists in 2013 BBSRC Impact Awards

BBSRC has announced the finalists in its 2013 Activating Impact and Innovator of the Year competitions.

All competitors will find out who has won the prestigious titles at a final in central London on 20th March 2013.

The two competitions form part of BBSRC’s Fostering Innovation programme, which also includes the Excellence with Impact awards, celebrating the success of scientists, knowledge exchange practitioners and institutions which have translated excellent research into social and economic benefits.

Activating Impact is a new competition which has been created to celebrate the work of successful Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation (KEC) teams or individuals that make essential contributions in turning excellent bioscience research supported by BBSRC into real-life applications.

As well as recognising these contributions the competition aims to promote best practice in KEC amongst the bioscience community and stimulate innovative approaches to future KEC activities in the biosciences.

The winning team will receive £50,000 and up to two runner-ups will receive £25,000 to contribute to an aspect of the organisation's strategy for KEC.

Activating Impact 2013 finalists

• The University of Aberdeen (University of Aberdeen Research and Innovation)

• The University of Cambridge (Cambridge Enterprise Ltd, University of Cambridge)

• The University of Edinburgh and The Roslin Institute (Edinburgh Research and Innovation Ltd.)

• The University of Manchester (The University of Manchester Intellectual Property (UMIP), a division of UMI3 Ltd)

• The University of Nottingham (University of Nottingham Technology Transfer Office)

• The University of Oxford (Research Services, University of Oxford)

Innovator of the Year is an established competition recognising the efforts of BBSRC-funded scientists to take their work beyond the lab and deliver social and economic advantages.

The Innovator of the Year finalists compete in one of the three categories; 'Commercial Innovator', 'Social Innovator' and 'Most Promising Innovator' which reflect the breadth of the benefits delivered by BBSRC's investment in UK bioscience. One of the category winners will be chosen as the overall Innovator of the Year by the independent panel of expert judges.

Winners in each category will receive a £10,000 award to support research, training or other activities promoting economic or social impact. The overall winner will receive a further £5,000 and their department will receive £15,000.

Previous winners include the University of Cambridge's Professor Shankar Balasubramanian, who co-invented Solexa Sequencing, an ultrafast way to sequence DNA. The firm he co-created, Solexa, was sold for $600M.

In 2012 Professor George Lomonossoff of the John Innes Centre won the overall title for his work developing a safe and accessible way to manufacture proteins in plants, which could revolutionise vaccine screening.

Innovator of the Year 2013 finalists

Commercial Innovator

  • Stefan Przyborski, University of Durham. Technology that enhances the value and relevance of cell-based assays for discovery and screening applications.
  • Hagan Bayley, University of Oxford. Engineered protein nanopores.
  • Anna Hine, Aston University. Advancement of protein engineering for global biotechnology/pharma.

Social Innovator

  • Ian Graham, University of York. High value chemicals from plants: molecular breeding of pharmaceutical crops.                                          
  • Peter Mertens and Simon Carpenter, Simon Gubbins and Carrie Batten, The Pirbright Institute. Identification, modelling and control of bluetongue outbreaks in the UK and northern Europe.

Most Promising Innovator

  • Ryan Donnelly, Queen's University Belfast. Hydrogel-forming microneedle arrays for enhanced drug delivery and patient monitoring.
  • Tim Dafforn and Mathew Hicks, University of Birmingham. A synthetic biology solution to pathogen detection.