It was celebrations all round recently as UMIP enters its sixth year whilst sister firm UMIC celebrated the tenth anniversary of The Manchester Incubator Building and its own fifth birthday. The two organisations came together for a joint event at the CTF building on Grafton Street on September 23rd which was headed by Sir William Castell, Chairman of the Wellcome Trust.
During the event, UMIC and UMIP took stock of the achievements following five years of successful bioscience and technology commercialisation and incubation since the 2004 creation of the new University of Manchester. UMIP is widely recognised in the UK and beyond for the quality of its IP management, with the University investing over £1.5 million in ‘proof of principle’ bioscience projects alone.
UMIP Chairman Peter Sanderson addressed the delegates and said: “In addition to helping to secure over £35 million for various sources including share sales and IP grants, UMIP has built a share asset value of £9 million, represented by 20 spin-outs employing over 500 people. These spin-outs alone have an annual combined sales turnover of £17 million, and they’ve also placed about £2 million of research contracts with the University. We currently manage over 150 licence and patent cases, and there’s a very strong pipeline of more to come. UMIP working together with The University of Manchester and UMIC has certainly had five years of positive impact in the northwest region and beyond, and we are looking forward to the future.”
Sir William Castell’s plenary address took note of the global economic drivers for new technology and commercial opportunities in food security, bio-fuels and clean technology, with Manchester in good shape to capitalise on these opportunities through its business incubation and research commercialisation activities. Sir William also paid tribute to what UMIC had helped to achieve in the past ten years, pointing to the breaking on the day news of DxS’s £80m acquisition by German diagnostic testing giant Qiagen.
The Manchester Incubator Building provided the first dedicated facility for biotechnology firms starting up in the northwest region. Thirty three bioscience companies are trading from UMIC’s facilities, and have created more than 850 high-value jobs. Bioscience now represents a significant area of economic activity in the northwest, attracting in excess of £300 million in financing and investment deals. Dr Martino Picardo UMIC’s managing director commented: “The event has showcased to local and national audiences what vision, focus and hard work can achieve. From the vision in 1999 that Manchester should build and develop world-class biotechnology businesses and facilities to the numerous success stories and wealth creation that our bio-entrepreneurs represent to the city and to the northwest region.”
Sustainable power company ENER-G (www.energ.co.uk) is marking the 25th anniversary of its global combined heat and power (CHP) business, launched in 1984 following pioneering research and development work by Manchester academics.
Founded as Manchester’s first spin-out business, Combined Power Systems (CPS) has since become part of Salford-based ENER-G, which turns over £90 million and employs more than 700 staff worldwide.
The groundbreaking R&D work was carried out by a team at UMIST – now The University of Manchester – who developed remote monitoring and control systems that made low carbon CHP technology viable on a global industrial scale.
Since then, ENER-G has sold some 1,200 CHP units, reducing its customers’ carbon emissions by more than one million tonnes, and is a major player in the UK and European CHP market. Its Salford-designed and manufactured systems are used in hospitals, hotels, leisure centres, supermarkets and factories worldwide, and among its high-profile customers is the British Royal family at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.
To mark the anniversary, ENER-G will host a special reception on Tuesday 8 September for original spin-out team member Clive Rowland, now head of The University of Manchester Intellectual Property (UMIP).
Clive will be welcomed to ENER-G’s research, manufacturing and administration headquarters in Daniel Adamson Road, Salford, by Alan Barlow, managing director of the group’s Combined Power business, and Tony Roscoe, who also worked on the initial spin-out and remains an ENER-G employee.
Alan commented: “Today’s CHP industry is one of the most important sustainable technologies in a rapidly expanding sector and it’s very much the result of innovative work carried out by the university and ENER-G – two of Greater Manchester’s leading technology organisations.
“It wouldn’t be an overstatement to compare the growth of the CHP industry with tiny acorns and mighty oaks and we wanted Clive to come along to see first hand what we are now achieving in terms of product development, energy efficiency and global expansion.”
ENER-G recently opened a third factory in Salford, enabling the company to increase production of its CHP and biogas generator units by 50% to meet orders from across the globe.
ENER-G’s CHP systems create electricity and heat simultaneously and reduce carbon emissions by around 20% while cutting electricity costs by approximately one third. Its biogas generation units convert methane, which is 21 times more damaging to the environment than carbon dioxide, into green energy – harnessing harmful gases from coal mines, landfill sites, waste water and other organic waste.
Clive commented: “The evolution of the original spin-out business into the successful technology company is tremendously satisfying personally and demonstrates the university’s contribution to business and the environment.
“The development of remote monitoring and control for CHP was a crucial commercial breakthrough because it meant you could anticipate and resolve issues before they became problems. This meant lower operating costs and greater efficiency.”
Today, this means that ENER-G can provide 24/7 monitoring of its installed systems across the world, ensuring that they operate at peak performance.
CPS was born from a market opportunity developed by entrepreneurial investors on the back of R&D work by academic staff at UMIST into a remote monitoring and control system for an efficient combined heat and power unit. CPS was owned by a number of utility companies following the spin-out and was acquired by ENER-G in 1997.
Clive continued: “We had to get by from hand to mouth for many years to keep the dream alive. This was in the days before there was much interest by UK venture capitalists in university spin-outs. So developing these enterprise activities was very hard work – like climbing a new mountain for each new opportunity.
“We were among the first universities to explore the commercial potential of research and have also grown enormously since those early times. For example, the £32 million UMIP Premier Fund, set up in 2008, is the largest single university venture fund of its type in Europe – and a long way from the days when we were knocking on hundreds of doors to get investors interested,” added Clive.
Media information: Janet Kilpatrick, email@example.com, phone: 0161 487 3830, mobile: 07794 192 677.
Notes to editor:
ENER-G (www.energ.co.uk) develops, finances and delivers renewable and energy efficient power generation and management schemes – applying advanced technology to cost and greenhouse gas reduction.
ENER-G’s solid financial status and independence provides the freedom to finance capital projects to offer zero cost purchase options to customers with revenue generated via long-term energy purchase contracts.
The group provides a complete end-to-end solution for all commercial and industrial energy requirements. Its engineering and service solutions include every aspect of energy management, including procurement; metering; control; lighting and building management systems; combined heat & power (CHP) manufacture and operation (ENER-G has more installed CHP systems across the UK and Europe than any other supplier); geothermal technology; energy from digester gas; and new generation energy from waste.
The Fast 50’s were presented to the top 50 fastest growing companies in the Greater Manchester area based on annual growth over a three year period.
The event was held at Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United Football Club.
Torsten Schanze, Operations Manager of Nanoco Technologies, received the award on behalf of the company. In a statement he pointed out that: “This accolade recognizes the tremendous speed at which Nanoco has developed over the past couple of years. The move into new and purpose built facilities, the recent expansion of those facilities, the flotation on the stock market and the number of new hires show that the company is moving in the right direction, especially in these difficult economic times.”
Manchester-based water treatment company Arvia Technology has won the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) North West Innovation Award.
The University of Manchester spin-out offers a low carbon, chemical and waste free process for the onsite treatment and recycling of industrial waste water.
The technology captures pollutants using Nyex, Arvia’s patented material and then destroys them by applying a low-power electric current.
Arvia says this combined function is an innovation first and also 90 per cent cheaper than conventional techniques.
Chair of the judging panel, Unilver’s Malcolm Sarstedt said: “We were very impressed with the number and consistent high standard of entries – demonstrating that the north west of England is still a hot bed of innovation.
“Sustainability is now a key driver for change, and Arvia has not only achieved effective, sustainable water treatment, but also significant cost benefits compared to competing technologies. This is an excellent example of the sort of innovation that industry is looking to apply.”
Arvia’s chief executive Martin Keighley said: “We’re absolutely delighted to win this award, particularly as entrants were drawn from all industries. For Arvia to be recognised in the face of such stiff competition is a great achievement.”
Keighley recently attended the launch of the Government’s new National Innovation Investment Fund at the London Stock Exchange.
Arvia, whose customers include water utility and ground water remediation companies, was one of only four companies invited to attend and offer their vision for the future of high-tech venture capital investment in the UK to an audience which included science minister Lord Drayson and business secretary Lord Mandelson.
Source: Crains Manchester Business
UMIC are celebrating ten years of successful biotechnology incubation and growth with a
major event involving industry, government and investor delegates on Wednesday 23rd September 2009. Speakers include Sir William Castell, Chairman of the Wellcome Trust and ex-CEO of Amersham plc .
The event will also celebrate the 5th anniversary of UMIP and UMIC.
Roundtable discussions on financing & investment, drug development, and national policymaking will be led by experienced local professionals who have ‘been there, done that’.
Finally a showcase exhibition throughout the event will highlight Northwest biotech, UMIC partners, collaborators, spin-out companies and research projects within The University of Manchester.
We anticipate strong delegate representation from government, research councils, industry and academia.
Please visit the UMIC webite for more information www.umic.co.uk/anniversary_event/