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University of Oxford named best UK university for successful spinouts

By Karolina Skinner
28 September 2021

The University of Oxford has been named the most prolific at producing commercially successful spinouts in the last two decades, according to the University Spinout Report 2021 by IP experts at GovGrant.

GovGrant analysed just under 1,000 UK spinout companies, a sample that comprises £19.28 billion of capital invested, 4,489 deals and 1,907 investors.

The University of Oxford has generated some of the highest value spinout companies in the UK, with the most successful being Oxford Nanopore Technologies, currently valued at £2.39 billion. University of Oxford spinouts have raised a total of £3.1 billion through the university.

The University of Oxford has 6 spinouts in the top 10 by value: Oxford Nanopore is joined in the top 10 by OxSight, NightstaRx, Oxford Immunotec, Perspectum and Vaccitech, all of them in Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology. Spinouts from the university have a total value of £8.1bn.

One sixth of spinout companies in the UK (16%) originated from Oxford University. This is followed by the University of Cambridge with more than 11% of UK spinout companies and Imperial College London, which has contributed 9% of the UK total.

Imperial College London’s leading spinout is Ceres Power, which comes second in the top 10 and is valued at £1.98bn.

The University of Dundee features fourth on the list with Exscientia, a company valued at £784m and currently headquartered in Oxford where it opened its offices in 2017, in addition to the offices in Dundee.

The report also provides notable mentions for the universities seeing recent growth in their commercialisation of innovation. When analysing growth data from the last decade, the University of Strathclyde has made strides into the top 10, having come just outside of it prior to 2008. The Royal College of Art also comes in at number 8 on the list of the most prolific institutions for commercialising innovation in the UK over the last decade.

Universities that have produced the most spinouts over the past decade.

In total, the top 10 UK spinout companies by valuation are worth approximately £9.8 billion. Of these 10, eight are in the healthcare industry. Healthcare is the dominant sector for successful UK spinouts, accounting for 45%. IT is the next most successful with 24%, almost half as many as healthcare.

Between 2016 and 2018 alone, UK university spin-outs employed over 23,000 people, with an average of 12 employees per company.

"This report highlights the huge value to the economy of UK universities, as well as the incredible depth of creativity and talent at our universities. It’s no surprise to see pharmaceutical and biotech spinouts feature prominently: the UK is particularly renowned for innovation in these areas. You only need to look at the recent development of Covid-19 vaccines in the UK to see how accomplished we are in pharmaceutical innovation."


About GovGrant

GovGrant is a specialist in innovation and R&D tax relief, helping businesses to maximise the value of innovation by claiming R&D and creative industries tax relief and Intellectual Property services.