The UK’s pursuit of becoming a scientific-superpower hinges on bolstering its knowledge centres to drive research, development and innovation.
Universities serve as hubs for innovation, intellectual property generation and the commercialisation of research findings. University spinouts play a crucial role in creating a thriving innovation ecosystem, drawing from all academic institutions and disciplines. The life sciences sector is gaining prominence, witnessing a surge in equity deals within spinouts during the latter half of 2022 and into 2023. Subsectors such as research tools/reagents, pharmaceuticals and analytics and insights are showing notable growth and, according to a report by Beauhurst, foreign investment into UK spinouts has reached an all-time high.
Alevin Therapeutics, which originated at the University of Nottingham, is a great example of a company making remarkable progress. Dedicated to developing safe and effective medicines for unmet diseases, Alevin Therapeutics has a specific focus on Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF).The leadership team at Alevin includes highly experienced highly experienced professionals such as Thomas McInally, a seasoned medicinal chemist with more than 30 years’ experience, Chris Moody, a prolific researcher with more than 440 publications and 10 patents and Alison John, an experienced cell and molecular biologist specialising in therapeutic target identification in lung disease. Since it launched in March 2022, the company has made remarkable progress. Within seven months, it received prestigious awards, including the Best Biotech Startup Company at the OBN Awards 2022 and Finalist for Start-up of the Year at the Cambridge Independent Science and Technology Awards 2023.
Recognising the potential, o2h Ventures made a pre-seed capital investment. In July 2022, in collaboration with the University of Nottingham, we became the lead investor and reinvested. We provided essential support, including co-working space in o2h co work labs, assistance with office address establishment, face-to-face mentoring and support from o2h co-work labs. The partnership also extended to connecting Alevin with major players in the
pharmaceutical industry, accelerating commercial and industrial links.
Collaborative efforts like this showcase the impactful role that venture capital can play in propelling university spinouts towards success in what is an increasingly competitive landscape.
The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) has become a crucial avenue for increasing investment in the country’s most innovative startups. o2h Ventures has emerged as a key player actively investing in and leading other university spinouts from institutions such as the University of Dundee, the University of Oxford, the University of Sussex, the University of Nottingham and University College London (UCL).
As finalists in the Growth Investor Awards 2023 for the second consecutive year, we are excited to be part of a collective mission to establish productive spin-out ecosystems, identifying bright talents and fostering the innovation necessary to reach the UK’s scientific superpower status.
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