• 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

Author Archive

UMI3 Ltd appoints Simply Business’ CEO Jason Stockwood as non-executive director

Jason Stockwood

UMI3 Ltd, The University of Manchester’s Innovation Company, is delighted to announce the appointment to the Board of Jason Stockwood, Group CEO of Simply Business, as non-executive director.

UMI3’s role is to bring as much of the University’s ground-breaking inventions and software into the commercial world. This is done principally by attracting entrepreneurs, investors and corporate venture partners to the University’s campus and Innovation Centre and then, through engagement with academic colleagues, licensing or spinning out companies.

All of the brilliant ideas which are generated by the University’s researchers have the potential to save lives, improve healthcare, increase efficiencies in industry and the environment, and otherwise enhance society and make positive contributions to the economy.

University spin-outs have produced “firsts” in scale-up of technologies with commercial applications, from quantum dot manufacture (Nanoco) to the treatment of radioactive waste (Arvia).

Jason Stockwood joined this month as a non-executive director and chairman of the Project Development Committee. As part of his appointment to UMI3, he will be reviewing progress of UMI3’s spin-outs and licence opportunities and will be reviewing proposals for investment by the University in new IP projects. He will be also working on the introduction of an enterprise culture to help generate greater impact from UMI3’s work and will be involved with the University’s Innovation Centre, UMIC, which provides lab, office and events space for innovative spin-outs and start-ups.

Stockwood is the Global CEO of Simply Business, one of the UK’s largest business insurance providers and a pioneering fast growth insurtech firm that has disrupted the industry through harnessing data and technology. Since joining in 2010, Stockwood is responsible for scaling the business to cover more than 425,000 customers, driving its global expansion, with its US office having opened last year as well as successfully leading the company through investment and acquisition.

Prior to Simply Business, Stockwood held a number of senior positions across disruptive online businesses from the global dating website, Match.com, where he was International Managing Director, to his role in travel as managing director at Travelocity Business. He has also held board positions with Skyscanner and The Drinkaware Trust.

Simply Business was voted ‘The Best Company to Work For’ in The Sunday Times in both 2015 and 2016 under Stockwood’s leadership, which also saw him voted CEO of the Year in 2016 by the same publication. In 2017 Simply Business was awarded its B-Corp accreditation in recognition of its supportive and innovative approach to ensure the business is making a positive contribution to wider society and the environment.

Jason Stockwood comments: “It’s an honour to join the Board of the University of Manchester’s Innovation Company, a world-leading hub for technology and innovation that is committed to supporting the growth of ambitious startups.

“I am fascinated about the wealth of new opportunities at our fingertips when we unleash the full potential of our talent and technology. I look forward to working closely with the next generation of innovators, helping review the progress of spin-outs and licences as well as new proposals for investment by the University in original IP projects.

“We are entering a world where every company will on some level be a technology business. The impact of digital disruption is immeasurable and The University of Manchester’s Innovation Company has a vital role to play in nurturing ground-breaking ideas and providing spin-outs with the support and access to funding that they need in order to scale.”

Clive Rowland, UMI3 CEO, comments: “We are in the process of developing our company to promote further the University’s goals for enterprise and social impact through technology licensing and spinning out new companies.

“Finding the ‘right’ balance between being a service provider and an investment-minded business is a constant challenge. Who better to help us with this development than Jason? His personal business success and well respected people-focussed approach to leadership is a wonderful asset for us and we are all looking forward to his contributions to our efforts. His origin in the North of England is an added bonus as we seek to make an increased commitment to the Northern Powerhouse through our work and our new technology transfer collaboration with the Universities of Leeds and Sheffield.”

Award winning spin-out MicroBioSensor announces plans following £1.4m investment

Dr Gordon Barker

A University of Manchester spin-out behind a medical device designed to detect life threatening infections will kick off its first clinical trial next year following a £1.4 million investment boost.

Through its ‘iPad mini sized device’ MicroBioSensor aims to help people with kidney failure undergoing peritoneal dialysis.

Based at The University of Manchester’s Innovation Centre, UMIC, MicroBioSensor recently secured £1.4m worth of equity finance from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) and Catapult Ventures.

MicroBioSensor CEO Dr Gordon Barker said: “2018 is going to be a very important year for our 11-strong team as we look to successfully run our first clinical trial which will last through to the second quarter of 2019.

“Essentially, this is all about detecting potentially life-threatening infections early, to improve treatment outcomes.”

Dr Barker said that of the 50,000 to 60,000 people in the UK on renal replacement therapy, less than 10 per cent are on peritoneal dialysis.

“One of the reasons for that is people are worried about infection in the peritoneal cavity around their gut, as it will kill you if it’s left untreated,” he said. “Our device plugs into the equipment that dialysis patients use every day and detects emerging infections in this space, which potentially means keeping people on peritoneal dialysis for longer which is a good thing.

“If the clinical trial goes well we’ll be able to start selling the medical device for use in hospitals and clinics, which also saves the NHS money.

“The idea is that eventually it will be used at home by patients, as our technology is so simple that a non-specialist can use it with confidence.

“You are essentially looking at a window on the device for a colour change. If it’s a pale green everything is ok, if it goes to a dark purple colour, you know you have a problem. The idea is to flag that problem at a pre-symptomatic stage.

“You then go straight to the doctor rather than waiting to fall ill,” added Dr Barker.

MicroBioSensor has so far also been funded through transitional funding and grants including £125,000 from UMIP, £100,000 from Spark Impact and £983,000 from innovate UK.

In November, MicroBioSensor won the coveted ‘2017 Bionow Investment Deal of the Year Award’.

Pitch@Palace Applications Now Open

You may be aware that Pitch@Palace 9.0 applications are now open and we would like to encourage you to apply http://pitchatpalace.com/apply-9/

The programme offers mentoring and advice to those developing business ideas around data, intelligence and the future of security.

Whether you simply have an idea on paper or your business is at the point of scaling up Pitch@Palace 9.0 seeks to discover entrepreneurs and companies that have identified opportunities in the following areas:

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Machine Learning
  • IoT
  • Cyber-security
  • Blockchain
  • Defence
  • Cloud
  • 3D Printing

Manchester Enterprise Centre, UMIP and Business Engagement at The University of Manchester are delighted to announce that HRH, The Duke of York, is bringing a key boot camp event in his Pitch@Palace initiative to our campus in March 2018.

Manchester has a long and important connection to the history of computing that cannot be overstated. This legacy continues in our city today through our teaching, research, spinout companies and local SMEs and corporates engaged in such future facing industries.

We wish to see as many of our companies represented at these events, to showcase the thriving technology, science and entrepreneurial communities in the Greater Manchester ecosystem. Applications are now open for interested entrepreneurs and we would like to encourage you to apply before the deadline of 15th February 2018.

Key dates for information:

31st January, 2018 Pitch@Palace On Tour London MOD (hosted by Rise)
2nd February, 2018 Pitch@Palace On Tour Cheltenham NCSC (hosted by Wayra GCHQ)
7th February, 2018 Pitch@Palace On Tour Huddersfield University of Huddersfield
13th March, 2018 Pitch@Palace Boot Camp The University of Manchester

For further information about the Pitch@Palace process visit http://www.pitchatpalace.com

New deal could bring first treatment for rare terminal disorder in children

Scientists from The University of Manchester believe children suffering from Sanfilippo – a rare terminal disorder that affects children’s brains – could be treated successfully for the first time. There are currently four types of Sanfilippo syndrome, Type A, B, C and D, which are caused by a lack of enzymes, which helps to break down and recycle long chain sugars and results in a build-up of sugars in the body and particularly the brain.

Sanfilippo Type B affects around one in 200,000 live births, whereas the most common of the four types, Sanfilippo Type A affects around one in 100,000 live births in the UK.Affected children suffer from hyperactivity, speech loss, profound mental disability and eventually lose the ability to walk, talk or eat.

Professor Brian Bigger

Prof Brian Bigger, Professor of Cell and Gene Therapy at The University of Manchester, said a stem cell gene therapy technology developed in his laboratory and recently published in the prestigious journal Brain1 and selected for Editor’s choice, will be used by Orchard Therapeutics to treat Sanfilippo syndrome Type B after the company recently acquired an exclusive licence.

Prof Bigger said: “UK-based clinical-stage biotechnology company Orchard Therapeutics is already a trusted collaborative partner and the acquisition of the licence for Sanfilippo Type B complements the existing collaboration program already in place for Sanfilippo Type A.

“We are very hopeful that this will be transformative for patients, and that this technology will change the lives of children with Sanfilippo Type A and Type B.
“As it stands the disease is incurable and people with Sanfilippo syndrome normally live until adolescence or early adulthood after suffering for many years.
“Children with Sanfilippo begin showing symptoms of hyperactivity, severe behavioural problems and miss development milestones as toddlers. Later they show symptoms similar to dementia with most never achieving a developmental age beyond two years.”

Dr Jesus Garcia-Segovia, Orchard’s VP Clinical Development, CNS and Metabolic Disorders commented: “The incorporation of Sanfilippo syndrome type B into our development pipeline is a significant milestone in the consolidation of our neurometabolic franchise, which is currently focused on the development of autologous ex-vivo haematopoietic stem-cell gene therapy for children suffering from Sanfilippo syndrome type A. We are very excited at the possibility of bringing effective treatments capable of addressing the high unmet medical need in children suffering from these devastating conditions.”

Furthermore, Prof Bigger said the stem cell gene therapy, if successful, could also lead to major breakthroughs in treatment of more common diseases.
“If this is successful we could be in line for treating more common diseases such as Parkinson and Alzheimer diseases.
“If we can show that it is possible to treat single gene brain diseases such as Sanfilippo with stem cell gene therapy, it will pave the way for other treatments.
“We are also grateful to The University of Manchester’s technology transfer company, UMI3 Ltd, for their role in negotiating the terms of this major deal with Orchard Therapeutics.”

1 https://academic.oup.com/brain/article-lookup/doi/10.1093/brain/awx311
DOI 10.1093/brain/awx311