UCL launches $55M technology investment fund
UCL is launching the UCL Technology Fund to invest £50 million ($55 million) in commercializing its research emerging over the next five years. The Fund will be used to support academics whose research has commercial potential, with funding for early stage proof-of-concept, licensing projects and new spinout companies.
This is the first investment fund that UCL has launched to commercialize its multidisciplinary research and it will support innovations from academics in all areas of the university, including life sciences, engineering and information communication technology.
The Fund will provide both financing and support to take projects through the whole development journey from proof of concept to commercialization. It will build on the success of UCL’s technology transfer company UCL Business (UCLB) in commercializing research from the university, by increasing the number of projects that can be supported and improving the financial return to the university. UCL is ranked number one for its research strength in the U.K.’s recent Research Excellence Framework and has a long track record of developing thriving businesses through UCLB.
UCLB has launched over 60 spin-out companies to commercialize intellectual property developed by UCL researchers. Recent UCLB spinouts include Freeline, which is developing gene therapies for blood disorders and Autolus, which is developing cancer immunotherapy treatment.
Another spin-out, Senceive, provides wireless monitoring solutions to the construction and railway industries while Mediagamma is an innovative advertising technology company.
UCL has secured funding from the European Investment Fund (EIF), one of the largest providers of venture investment in Europe, and from Imperial Innovations, a U.K. public technology commercialization company.
EIF and Imperial Innovations have each committed £24.75 million ($27 million) to the Fund, which will have an initial investment period of five years. EIF’s contribution to the UCL Technology Fund is supported by the Investment Plan for Europe.
The Fund will be managed by Albion Ventures, one of the U.K.’s largest independent venture capital investors. Albion is also contributing to the Fund. Albion will draw on the experience of UCLB to ensure the Fund meets financial targets as well as objectives set by UCL for broader society and economic impact.