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With £250M fund, this investment firm wants to create new spinouts across life sciences, health and deep tech

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Photo Credit: Oxford Science Enterprises

Oxford Science Enterprises (OSE), the investment firm that supports firms born out of Oxford University’s academic research, has completed a £250M fundraising campaign to encourage scientific and technological achievements. Since its beginning in 2015, OSE has raised more than £850M.

A wide collection of foreign investors participated in the fundraise announced today, including existing and new blue-chip investors, sovereign wealth funds, family offices, pension funds, and asset managers.

Fund usage

The funds raised through the rights issue will be used to increase investments in Oxford University spinouts that want to commercialise breakthroughs in life sciences, health, and so-called deep technology, including artificial intelligence, robotics, and quantum computing things.

Existing OSE owners include Huawei, the Chinese telecoms equipment firm that the UK government barred from supplying technology for the country’s 5G mobile networks in 2020.

Braavos Capital, Lansdowne Partners, Oxford University’s endowment fund, the Wellcome Trust, and Temasek are among the other OSE shareholders.

Alexis Dormandy, Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are delighted to complete this new fundraising successfully. Attracting such high-quality new and existing global investors reflects their enthusiasm for the strength of Oxford’s science and our plans to drive a positive impact from it.

“This fundraise comes at an exciting and pivotal time for OSE. We have built a talented team and proved our model of translating ground-breaking science into a diverse portfolio of transformational businesses. Our companies are making remarkable breakthroughs from cancer, heart failure and infectious diseases, to climate change, food security and quantum computing. Over the next few years, we expect these companies will continue to make important progress; with our ongoing efforts, and the support of our shareholders, we look forward to helping them deliver impact and returns.”

OSE portfolio

OSE was founded in 2015 as a separate entity from Oxford University, but it automatically owns a 10% interest in any firms founded by its academics.

OSE’s portfolio companies include Vaccitech, which helped create AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine, and ORCA Computing, which gave the Ministry of Defence its first quantum computer.

OSE is one of numerous UK investment firms established to support university spinoffs.

According to the Royal Society of Engineering, the sector got £2.54 billion in investment last year, a 69% increase over 2020.

According to Beauhurst, a data platform, Oxford University is the top company creator in the UK higher education sector, with 193 spinouts since 2011. Oxford now develops 20 firms every year on average.

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