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Oxford: University's innovation ecosystem awarded top prize

By Dan Teuton
24 May 2017

Oxford University Innovation (OUI), the research commercialisation office of Oxford University, has been named Technology Transfer Office (TTO) of the Year at the GUV Awards 2017.

OUI beat stiff competition from peers at Cambridge, Toronto, and Warwick universities, as well as the University of California Los Angeles and SATT Sud-Est, which manages research commercialisation for the South East region of France.

University innovation trade magazine Global University Venturing (GUV), which organises the awards, highlighted the sharp increase in activity around OUI and Oxford’s innovation ecosystem over the past year. During 2016, OUI produced 21 spinout companies – more than doubling its output from 2015. Meanwhile, the seed funding raised for the 2016 cohort – critical investment cash for young companies – increased fivefold from £9.5 million to £52.6m. Oxford University spinouts have also had a great deal of success in finding additional financial support to accelerate their growth. Since 2011, Oxford spinouts have secured £1.4 billion in external funding.

David Norwood, CEO and co-founder of Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI), was named Personality of the Year at the GUV Awards in recognition of his role in the creation and leadership of the investment company. Launched in 2015, OSI manages a spinout-focused £580m fund, and acts as a major catalyst for the innovative activity around Oxford. At present, OSI’s fund is the largest university venture fund focused on a single institution worldwide.

Among the collaborations between OUI and OSI highlighted at the GUV Awards was the LAB282 Partnership, the £13m drug discovery fund for Oxford University. Supported by OUI, OSI and Germany-based biotech Evotec, LAB282 addresses the challenge of generating more focused drug discovery programmes out of the University’s research into novel biological mechanisms associated with disease. The fund will allow hasten the evolution of projects into technologies and companies faster, while also providing industry validation during development.

Matt Perkins, CEO of Oxford University Innovation, said: “OUI is committed to drawing the best ideas out of Oxford University to have impact on the wider society. This award validates the work we’re doing here at Oxford, and demonstrates to the international innovation community that we’re a world leader in what we do.”

David Norwood, CEO of Oxford Sciences Innovation, added: “OUI is an essential partner for us in identifying and developing Oxford companies with world-changing potential. Matt and his team deserve recognition for the work that they do, and we look forward to continuing to strengthen our partnership so that we can better support the innovation spilling out from Oxford University.”

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