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Sector: Category: Portfolio Progress

Imperial Innovations Group plc (AIM: IVO, 'Innovations'), a leading technology commercialisation and investment group, announces that portfolio company Nexeon, the battery materials and licensing company, has signed a strategic partnership agreement with German chemical company WACKER Chemie AG ('WACKER'). WACKER has taken a strategic stake in Nexeon.

The partnership will involve the two companies working together to scale-up the production of Nexeon's silicon anode technology to commercial volumes. WACKER has strong research and chemical process capabilities as well as extensive production expertise in speciality materials and will be able to leverage its engineering and manufacturing expertise to accelerate Nexeon's scale-up plans.

Nexeon, Innovations' second largest investment to date, is developing silicon materials to replace carbon as the anode of lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries. This will lead to the production of rechargeable batteries with higher charge density, enabling consumers to use their devices, such as laptops and smart phones, for longer before needing to recharge them. Stronger battery performance is also key to the wider adoption of electric and hybrid vehicles.

Innovations was the lead investor when Nexeon raised £40 million in 2011 to establish a high tech manufacturing facility in order to scale-up the production of its materials to a commercial supply level of around 250 tonnes per annum. The company's existing pilot plant in Oxfordshire simulates current battery manufacturing processes, enabling Nexeon to better support battery manufacturers in rapidly adopting the technology through a 'drop in' approach.

Susan Searle, CEO of Innovations said:

"Backing from such a strong global company as WACKER is a great endorsement of Nexeon's silicon anode battery technology. The strategic partnership will enable Nexeon to accelerate the production and commercialisation of its materials.

"Nexeon's success demonstrates that our strategy to accelerate and increase investment in selected technologies is resulting in some really strong portfolio companies."

Dr Scott Brown, CEO of Nexeon said:

"WACKER has an enviable track record of bringing innovative products to demanding global markets, and its large scale silicon processing expertise will allow us to accelerate our scale-up plans significantly."

Dr Paul Atherton, Chairman of Nexeon said:

"This is a hugely important strategic step for Nexeon. With a strong supply side partner in WACKER, and good commercial traction with our target consumer and automotive customers, we are now in a strong position to generate widespread adoption of our unique silicon anode technology in the next generation of high performance Li-ion batteries."


Enquiries:

Imperial Innovations

+44 (0)20 7581 4949

Susan Searle, Chief Executive Officer

Terry Nicklin, Director of Communications

Nexeon

+44 (0)1235 436320

Scott Brown, CEO

College Hill

+44 (0)20 7457 2020

Adrian Duffield/Rozi Morris/Tim Watson

J.P. Morgan Cazenove

+44 (0)20 7742 4000

Michael Wentworth-Stanley/Paul Park

About Imperial Innovations

Innovations creates, builds and invests in pioneering university technologies addressing global problems in healthcare, energy, engineering and the environment. It combines deep understanding of science and technology with commercial acumen and strong investment expertise.

Innovations supports scientist-entrepreneurs in the commercialisation of their ideas by:

  • leading the formation of new companies and providing facilities in the early stages
  • providing significant investment and encouraging co-investment to accelerate the transition from R&D to products
  • providing operational expertise
  • helping to recruit high-calibre industry figures and experienced entrepreneurs as executive management and Board members

Innovations invests in companies based on technologies from or associated with four universities: Imperial College London; and Cambridge University, Oxford University, and UCL supported by its collaborations with Cambridge Enterprise, OSEM and UCL Business. These are the UK's leading research intensive universities, measured by research income.

By raising £140 million in January 2011, Innovations has been able to accelerate the making of, and increase the size of its investments. In the year to 31 July 2012, Innovations invested £37.9 million (2011: £35.1 million) in 29 ventures, and made 11 investments in new companies.

In its current portfolio of 78 companies, Innovations' most advanced assets include Circassia, which develops innovative vaccines for the treatment of a wide range of allergies; and Nexeon, a battery materials and licensing company which develops silicon anodes which extend the life and increase the capacity of lithium-ion batteries.

About Nexeon (www.nexeon.co.uk)

Nexeon Ltd. is a battery materials and licensing company developing silicon anodes for the next generation of lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. A spin out of Imperial Innovations, Nexeon scientists are showing that producing silicon with particular morphologies makes it possible to overcome its limitations as an anode material. Batteries made with silicon anodes have significant performance advantages over their traditional equivalents.

Nexeon is based in Oxfordshire, and has a fully automated and instrumented pilot plant. The pilot plant closely represents a commercial manufacturing facility, and allows an accurate understanding of the processes and costs associated with making anode materials. The technology has been conceived with a 'drop in' approach, requiring the minimum of changes to an existing Li-ion battery manufacturing operation.

Nexeon has established a growing portfolio of patents covering materials and fabrication processes, and is building a store of available know-how which is available through licensing.

High quality pictures are available from www.nexeon.co.uk/media-library

About WACKER Chemie AG

WACKER is a global chemical company with c. 17,200 employees and annual sales of around €4.9 billion (2011). The company is a leading global supplier to the chemical, semiconductor and solar industries. In many of its markets, it is a technology or market leader focused on processing silicon and ethylene into a variety of inorganic and organic products for high-tech applications. The company has a global network of 24 production sites, 19 technical competence centers and 53 sales offices. WACKER is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. For more information, please visit the website at: www.wacker.com.

Media Queries

For media enquiries regarding our portfolio of companies, press releases or any aspect of Imperial Innovations’ business, please contact Jon Davies or Gavin Reed.

Jon Davies
Jon Davies

Director of Communications

jon.davies@imperialinnovations.co.uk Email Jon Telephone 020 3727 2044
Gavin Reed
Gavin Reed

Marketing Assistant

gavin.reed@imperialinnovations.co.uk Email Gavin Telephone 0203 053 8820