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27 November 2017

Oxford hits 150 by spinning out 6Degrees

University of Oxford has generated its 150th spinout, 6Degrees, as its technology transfer office celebrates its 30th birthday today.

Author: Callum Cyrus, reporter

6Degrees, a UK-based augmented and virtual reality spinout from University of Oxford, today became the institution’s 150th business as its tech transfer office, Oxford University Innovation (OUI), celebrates its 30th anniversary.

The spinout is developing a smartphone app that enables phone cameras to capture real-world landscapes and convert them into a VR environment.

6Degrees is based on research by Victor Adrian Prisacariu, an associate professor of information engineering at Oxford’s Department of Engineering Science with expertise in real-time augmented and virtual reality.

Oxford’s commercialisation story began in 1959 when the university spun out UK-based scientific apparatus provider Oxford Instruments. Since 2011, the university’s spinouts have raised £1.5bn ($2bn) in capital between them, with exits since then also worth £1.5bn.

Spinouts have included needleless injection manufacturer PowderJect, which was acquired by biotech company Chiron for $1.3bn in 2003, and Nightstar Therapeutics, which floated for approximately $75m this past October.

Since it was launched 30 years ago, OUI has helped start 146 from a total of 150 Oxford University spinouts.  OUI launched 21 spinouts in 2016, up from 10 one year earlier.

These included UK-based regenerative medicine developer Oxstem, which received $24.4m in funding in May 2016, and artificial intelligence developer Diffblue, which raised $22m in series A funding the following month.

Matt Perkins, chief executive of OUI, said: “6Degrees makes an excellent and welcome addition to the Oxford innovation ecosystem as spinout 150. At the present rate, we will hit spinout 300 in the next seven to eight years.

“Looking forward, this raises the question of how to turn these spinouts into sustainable large scale and world-leading businesses. We in the Oxford innovation ecosystem invite the wider world to help us rise to that challenge.”

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