OUI supports proof-of-concept and seed stage investment activity through its bespoke early-stage funds, such as the University Challenge Seed Fund, the Oxford Invention Fund, and the Oxford University Innovation Fund. In 2016, OUI pioneered the creation of a new fund, LAB282, which offers support at an even earlier stage. A £13m drug discovery partnership between Oxford University, OUI, Evotec and Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI), LAB282 is making translational funding available to researchers developing promising drug discovery projects that are ripe for rapid commercial development. Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI), which manages a £600m fund for Oxford University spinouts, has continued to be an important catalyst for OUI’s commercialisation work throughout 2016/17. OSI invested £24.6m in 29 companies during the past financial year, and has invested a total of £57.9m in 40 companies since its creation in 2015.
OSI has had a sizeable impact on the amount of early-stage funding for Oxford University spinouts. In its first year of operation, a combination of investment from OSI and other sources attracted to Oxford by OSI led to a fivefold increase of seed-stage investment. This is beginning to translate into large Series A rounds, led by AI spinout DiffBlue’s £17.5m Series A with OSI and Goldman Sachs in 2016/17, with a number to be announced in 2017/18.
The enduring performance of Oxford University Innovation Spinout Equity Management further underlines the strength of investing in spinouts. The OUISEM team now have a portfolio of 104 companies worth £114.3m, which saw an annual growth rate of 17.19% between 2015/16 and 2016/17. In addition, the OUISEM portfolio has seen 11 flotations and trade sales since 2011, worth £1.52bn.