GCVI Summit 2018
Skip Content

22 October 2014

GUV Awards 2014

An overview of this year's awards.

Author: Gregg Bayes-Brown, editor

This year’s awards line-up reads like a who’s who of movers and shakers in the university innovation sector. Recognising both long term contributors and newcomers, the awards demonstrate individuals, universities, and companies which are all helping to put university venturing firmly on the innovation map.

Isis Innovation, the technology transfer unit of Oxford University, has had a stellar year. The unit has raised a fund, seen one of the largest exits of any spin-out in the past academic year, been ranked the top TTO in Europe by Global University Venturing, and has been one of the most consistently active TTOs over the past year.

The exit comes by the way of Oxford University spin-out NaturalMotion, which made headlines across the world in January when it was acquired by online games developer Zynga for $527m, netting over $50m for the institution. NaturalMotion started life by offering its animation engine which has been used in numerous top-selling games, most notably gaming giant Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto IV, Red Dead Redemption, and Max Payne 3. The company then went on to release games itself for mobile. Its biggest success has been CSR Racing, which topped App Store gaming charts in 70 countries and, at one point, brought in $12m in revenues a month. Through the acquisition, Zynga now owns both NaturalMotion’s games back catalogue, as well as two of the most widely used animation engines in the games industry.

Clocking in at $176m, Juno Therapeutics has raised one of the largest series A rounds in history. Launched only last December, the oncology therapeutics spin-out of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre and Seattle Children’s Research Institute, raised the round over a first raise of $120m at launch and adding a further $56m over the follow months. At the heart of the spin-out is a revolutionary oncology therapy that could change how we treat cancer.

Launching last October with $80m in backing, Cambridge Innovation Capital is an evergreen fund aiming to invest across sectors and all stages of development into companies within the Cambridge tech cluster. The fund, which includes Cambridge’s endowment fund, semiconductor designer and Cambridge spin-out Arm, Lansdowne Partners, Invesco, and IP Group as backers, will look to hold an IPO to bring its total funding up to $160m in the next two and a half years. All profits made from its investments will be ploughed back into the fund, with the aim of continually building an investment pot for Cambridge companies.

A cornerstone of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Lita Nelsen’s near 30 year tenure at the institution’s Technology Licensing Office (TLO) has been instrumental in driving MIT’s innovation policy for over two decades. The MIT native, awarded both the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) and the Association of University Technology Managers’ (AUTM) Bayh-Dole Award for her work in technology transfer, has led the institution’s TLO since 1992 after joining the unit back in 1986.

Rising to innovation director of SetSquared, an incubator partnership of Exeter, Southampton, Surrey, Bristol, and Bath, in March after ten years with the company, Simon Bond took the reins of an incubator going from strength to strength. Named the top incubator in Europe for the second year running by the UBI Index and announcing £1bn raised in external fundraising for 1,000 companies in its 11 years of operation, SetSquared looks to continue having an impressive impact on UK startups for the foreseeable future.

Recently launched by Uppsala University, Disruptive is commercialising upsalite, a material that will let drug developers reconsider all their drugs previously rejected during R&D by increasing the solubility of drugs and therefore the body’s ability to absorb a drug.

Over the past year, the IP Group has not only consolidated their position as one of the most foremost commercialisation firms in the UK with partnership and investments stretching across the country and the acquisition of fellow commercialisation firm Fusion IP, but has also made in-roads to the US with the signing of deals with Columbia, Pennsylvania, and Princeton universities.

The contributions of this year’s award winners, and their peers also nominated, deserve to be recognised for the substantial impact they have created. Be it a cancer therapy, the generation of funds to support innovation, or the management of the innovation pipeline, all play an integral role in shaping not only the future of the sector, but the world as a whole.

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.

  • Linkedin
  • Mail
  • Rssfeed