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25 June 2012

Spin-outs decline in UK

Training provider PraxisUnico* says there were less than 40 spin-outs last year, compared to nearly 50 for the two prior years.

Author: James Mawson

The number of spinouts from UK universities has continued to decline over the past six years with a focus on larger investments as successful exits remain relatively rare.

In its latest annual report for the 10-year period from 2002 to 2011, training provider PraxisUnico* said there were less than 40 spin-outs last year, compared to nearly 50 for the two prior years.

This decline, however, it added, has been counterbalanced by "the increased survivability of spinouts [of at least 60%] and a continuing level of successful exits".

There have been 10 flotations in the past five years, led by Oxford Advanced Surfaces raising £44.5m ( $69.4m) on the Alternative Investment Market and retroscreen Virology's £32.8m valuation during its May initial public offering, and 32 trade sales between 2009 and 2011, including Amgen's £1bn purchase of Biovex and Baxter International's purchase of ApaTech for $330m.

The time taken from spinout to exit has averaged eight years since 2008.

Over the past decade fewer than 20 spinouts gained external investment in any one calendar year.

The life sciences sector makes up between a third and a half of all spin-outs over the past decade, the report added.

Oxford University had the most spinouts - 47 - in the 2002-2011 period, followed by Imperial College London (41), Edinburgh (39) and Cambridge and Warwick in equal-fourth with 30 each. However, Oxford fell to second behind Edinburgh during the past three years, the annual report said.

The PraxisUnico Spinouts UK survey used the Young Company Finance database of 1,680 businesses formed since 2000 based either on intellectual property owned by one of the 150 universities and higher-education institutions (890 companies) or start-ups by members of staff or recent graduates (790 companies).

*The writer was a speaker at PraxisUnico's latest Impact to Innovation conference in June, with acommodation paid.

Copyright Mawsonia Limited 2010. Please don´t cut articles from www.globaluniversityventuring.com or the PDF and redistribute by email or post to the web without written permission.

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