OUI’s support for the Division went far beyond traditional licencing and company formation. We concluded follow-on licencing deals with existing spinout companies Oxford Cancer Biomarkers, Nightstar and Oxehealth allowing them to incorporate additional University IP into their products.

A record amount of investment in new ventures from the Medical Sciences Division went into 7 spinouts, with ongoing consulting deals for the academics involved. The first round investment raised – £25m – is unprecedented, and led to a Financial Times article highlighting a record round of fundraising for UK academic spinouts.

OUI’s support for the Division went far beyond traditional licencing and company formation. We concluded follow-on licencing deals with existing spinout companies Oxford Cancer Biomarkers, Nightstar and Oxehealth allowing them to incorporate additional University IP into their products.

Nightstar, which specialises in developing gene therapies for hereditary sight-threatening disorders, raised an additional $35m which allows it to continue clinical development of its gene therapy for choroideremia and to advance multiple retinal gene therapy programs into human trials.

Also addressing eyesight, OxSight’s smart glasses offer independence and improved quality of life for the sight-impaired, with potential to reduce the £250m annual estimated cost of visual impairment in the UK. This technology utilises a camera system and computer vision algorithms to detect and highlight objects, and was spun out with the support of a Chinese angel investor.

2003 spinout Summit Therapeutics, a drug discovery and development company advancing therapies for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (‘DMD’) and Clostridium difficile infection, signed a multi-year extension of its exclusive strategic alliance with the University to support and accelerate development of future generation utrophin modulators for the treatment of the progressive muscle wasting disorder DMD, having achieved its first research milestone.

Immunocore, an immunotherapy firm which has its origins in 1999 spinout Avidex, secured the largest European life sciences fundraising round ever at $320m. The company’s work on cancer-focused immunotherapies based around genetically-altered T cells has secured agreements with several high profile pharmaceutical firms, and this round attracted major investors including Eli Lilly and Woodford Investment Management.

Crowdfunding is becoming an established alternative route to raise finance for ventures with no immediate or obvious route to becoming viable businesses. Using the OxReach crowdfunding platform for the first time this year we raised £63K to develop LIFE – Life-saving Instruction For Emergencies – which trains African healthcare workers using game-like techniques on low-cost smartphones. The success of this crowdfunding campaign, with associated publicity, acted as a catalyst for further investment which is enabling further development providing greater levels of realism using Virtual Reality headsets.

The Clinical Outcomes team, working in close collaboration with researchers within the Health Services Research Unit (Nuffield Department of Population Health), had its 10th successive record year and further expanded its activity in volume of licences and remit – returning more royalties to the University than in previous years from licences and services to commercial clients. Of 525 licence deals, more than 80% were granted free of charge for academic colleagues and publicly funded healthcare use.

Clinical Outcomes provided guidance provided to NHS England on the deployment of Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) in digital format – using the patient’s own smartphone, tablet and PC’s to monitor and measure their own health outcomes – as an important step towards patient-centric care in the NHS.

 

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