Background to the Group

Imperial Innovations creates, builds and invests in pioneering technologies addressing global problems in healthcare, energy, engineering and the environment.

Imperial Innovations supports scientist-entrepreneurs in the commercialisation of their ideas by leading the formation of new companies, providing facilities in the early stages, providing investment, leading and encouraging co-investment to accelerate development, providing operational expertise and recruiting high-calibre management teams.

The Group was founded in 1986 as the technology transfer office for Imperial College London, to protect and exploit commercial opportunities arising from research undertaken at the College. In 1997, the Group became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Imperial College London and in 2006 was registered on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange, becoming the first UK University commercialisation company to do so.

Innovations has a Technology Pipeline Agreement with Imperial College London which extends until 2020, under which it acts as the technology transfer office for Imperial College London. The Group also acts as the technology transfer office for select NHS Trusts linked to Imperial College London, including Imperial College NHS and North West London Hospital Trusts.

Since 2005, the Group has raised £206 million in proceeds from investors, which has enabled it to invest in a portfolio of spin-out companies. In 2013, the Group received a loan facility for £30 million from the European Investment Bank, providing funds for investment in healthcare ventures. Since the IPO in 2006, Innovations has invested over £143 million, and the portfolio of companies has raised investment of over £470 million. The Group has holdings in 92 portfolio companies.

Innovations has achieved some notable early successes with its investments. For example, in 2010, RespiVert, a small molecule drug discovery company, was sold to Centocor Ortho Biotech (now Janssen Biotech) resulting in the Group realising £9.5 million of gross cash proceeds from an investment of £2 million. Innovations' portfolio made good progress during 2013: Oxford Immunotec listed on NASDAQ under the symbol OXFD and IXICO gained admission to the AIM of the London Stock Exchange, under the symbol IXI.

Following the fundraising in January 2011, the Group has invested larger amounts and maintained its involvement for longer in the most promising opportunities within its portfolio of spin-out companies, with the intention of maximising exit values. In addition, the Group has made a number of investments in opportunities arising from intellectual property developed at or associated with Cambridge University, Oxford University, and University College London, through its relationships with Cambridge Enterprise, Oxford Spin-out Equity Management, and UCL Business. These universities are the top four research intensive universities in Europe with a research income of over £1.2 billion per annum.

Total investment for the financial year ended 31 July 2012 was £37.9 million, compared to £35.1 million in the previous year, reflecting the Group’s stated intention to increase investment in its portfolio of companies.

Imperial Innovations timeline


  • 1986

    Imperial Innovations is founded as the technology transfer office for Imperial College London

  • 2005

    Innovations raises £20 million through a private transaction whereby a group purchases holdings in a portfolio of its portfolio companies

  • 2006

    The company completes its Initial Public Offering and is listed on the AIM of the London Stock Exchange and becomes Imperial Innovations Group plc. As a result of the IPO, the Group raises £26 million to invest in its portfolio of companies based on Imperial College London technology

  • 2007

    The Group raises a further £30 million through a share placement

  • 2008

    Pfizer acquires Group portfolio company, Thiakis, in a transaction valued at up to £100 million. The Group retains a royalty stream over future products arising from the Thiakis technology separate from the equity sale.

  • 2009

    In December, the Group leads a £15.25 million funding round in its portfolio company, Circassia.

  • 2010

    In July, Janssen Biotech acquire Group portfolio company Respivert for an undisclosed amount. The Group receives £9.7 million from the deal, a 4.7x return on investment

  • 2011

    In January, the Group raises £140 million through a share placement. As part of this fundraising, it commences investment in intellectual property developed at or associated with the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford and UCL, in addition to Imperial College London

    In April, the Group leads a £72 million investment round for its portfolio company, Circassia, a specialty biopharmaceutical company focused on allergy.

    In July, the Group leads a £40 million investment round for its portfolio company, Nexeon, a battery materials and licensing company developing silicon anodes for the next generation of lithium-ion batteries.

  • 2012

    In July, the Group makes significant investments in Cell Medica, an immune reconstitution specialist, and PsiOxus, a development stage biotechnology company developing treatments for cancer. The companies raised £17m and £22m respectively.

  • 2013

    In July, the Group obtained a £30 million loan facility from the European Investment Bank to provide funds for investments in healthcare ventures.

    Innovations' portfolio made good progress during 2013: Oxford Immunotec listed on NASDAQ under the symbol OXFD and IXICO gained admission to the AIM of the London Stock Exchange, under the symbol IXI.

  • 2014

    The Group's largest holding, Circassia, floats on the main market of the London Stock Exchange, raising £200 million at an initial market cap of £581 million, in what is believed to be the largest ever UK biotech float.

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