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Over twenty new Oxford technologies and ventures received a record £2.6m in proof-of-concept funding in 2014, the University’s technology commercialisation company, Isis Innovation, has reported.

The funding came from three seed funds, and boosted fifteen new companies. These include:

  • stroke-diagnostics specialist Brainomix which successfully raised £1.2m and won awards and grants including Innovate UK, Horizon 2020 and an Academic Enterprise ICT Award
  • OxBotica, which is at the forefront of robotics and autonomous systems;
  • First Light Fusion, spun out with seed funding from IP Group, Parkwalk Advisors and angel investors, and developing a radical new approach for generating energy from fusion.
  • Perspectum Diagnostics, developing scanning technology to detect cancer and pre-cancerous liver disease, and currently running trials in Edinburgh and Birmingham.

In November, seed fund investee and Isis Innovation spin-out Genomics Ltd raised £10.3 million from Invesco Perpetual, Lansdowne Partners, Woodford Investment Management and the Wylie Family Trust, as well as existing shareholders including IP Group and the University of Oxford. Genomics is developing an analytical platform for genomic sequence data analysis.

The University of Oxford Isis Fund II – an Enterprise Investment Scheme Fund managed by Parkwalk Advisors with Isis acting as Portfolio Advisor – is now fast approaching its target close. It follows on from the success of the University of Oxford Isis Fund I which raised and invested more than its target £1.25m in 2014.

“We have again seen huge interest from investors in the University of Oxford Isis Fund II, both because of the high quality pipeline of spin-outs from Oxford and of course the excellence of its research, reflected in the recent REF result,” said Parkwalk’s Moray Wright.

Andrea Alunni, Isis Innovation Seed Investment Manager said: “By all measures 2014 was an outstanding year in which we set up fifteen new companies: nine spinouts and six startups from our Isis Software Incubator.

“The biggest seed fund investments were in OxBotica, which is working at the forefront of robotics and autonomous systems, and our very exciting flexible display technology from the Department of Materials, with applications in ‘smart’ glasses, synthetic retinas, and foldable screens.

“And although spin-outs are the most visible of the years’ successes, a large portion of this seed funding has gone to technologies which will be taken forward by our licensees, existing companies, many of them local and leaders in their fields.”

Isis Innovation Executive Director Linda Naylor said: “An enormous amount of hard graft, skill and creativity goes into each successful technology, and each fledgling company. Being able to provide finance to propel new companies towards their goals and towards further investment is a critical part of Isis Innovation’s mission for the University of Oxford.

“Successes such as the acquisition of Isis spin-out NaturalMotion by Zynga for $527m have refreshed our seed funds. It’s also been great to see the groundswell of enthusiasm for UK technology from the investor community, and the confidence that early investments will pay off in the long term.”

Isis currently manages two seed funds on behalf of the University, the University Challenge Seed Fund and the Oxford Invention Fund, which is open to corporate and philanthropic donors.  Parkwalk manage The University of Oxford Isis Funds, EIS Funds offering alumni, friends and supporters of the University the opportunity to invest in Oxford spin-outs in a tax efficient manner.

For more information:

Renate Krelle
Isis Innovation Ltd
renate.krelle@isis.ox.ac.uk
T: +44(0)1865 280867

About Isis Innovation

Isis Innovation is the research and technology commercialisation company of the University of Oxford. We provide access to technology from Oxford researchers through intellectual property licensing, spin-out company formation and material sales, and to academic expertise through Oxford University Consulting.

Isis is the highest university patent filer in the UK and is ranked 1st in the UK for university spin-outs, having created more than 100 new companies in 25 years. In the last financial year we completed 503 licenses and consulting agreements. Isis Enterprise, our innovation management consultancy, signed 85 deals with university, government and industrial clients from offices around the world.

Isis was named ‘Technology Transfer Unit of the Year 2014’ by Global University Venturing.

For updates on innovations from Oxford, follow Isis on LinkedIn and Twitter or subscribe at www.isis-innovation.com

About Parkwalk

Specialising in University spin-out companies, Parkwalk invests in innovative UK high-growth companies across various stages of their development: from growth, development and commercial capital through to acquisition finance. Investments range from early stage to AIM-listed. Parkwalk’s EIS Funds seek significant capital gains with the substantial benefits offered under the Enterprise Investment Scheme. 

For updates from Parkwalk, please go to www.parkwalkadvisors.com or follow us on Twitter .

For further details please contact Parkwalk on 020 7759 2285.

About the University of Oxford Isis Fund II

Launched in conjunction with Isis Innovation, the University of Oxford Isis Funds offer alumni and investors the opportunity to invest in companies formed to develop and commercialise technology and intellectual property developed at the University of Oxford in a tax efficient manner.

For more detail on the Fund please see http://parkwalkadvisors.com/pw_uoif/