When Global University Venturing published its ground-breaking analysis of more than 60 years of spinouts at University of Oxford in April 2020, all the data we had collected was from a pre-pandemic world. By that point, the institution’s portfolio had collected more than £2.2bn and another $245m in equity financing overall.

Guest after guest on our Talking Tech Transfer podcast noted that the pandemic had led to an increase in activity, a reality subsequently reflected in annual reports. Having analysed Oxford’s longitudinal data just before the pandemic has given GUV a unique opportunity to evaluate how exactly these past 18 months have affected university venturing at a deep level by way of example of one of the world’s oldest and leading research institutions.

During the 2020 to 2021 fiscal year, the university’s tech transfer subsidiary Oxford University Innovation (OUI) added a record 23 spinouts, 4 startups and 6 social enterprises to its portfolio – with some crossover between these, this meant 31 new additions to OUI’s list of companies for a new total of 275 (including two that remain in stealth and details of which we are not at liberty do disclose).

Around 77.5% of companies remain active today, a slight drop on the 78.5% in our last analysis. A total of 15 companies achieved some form of exit – either an initial public offering, an acquisition or both – before being wound down, so may be reasonably counted as successes. Including these businesses, the survival rate jumps to around 82.8%, again a slight drop on the 83.9% previously.

Across the portfolio, total pre-exit equity capital now stands at more than £2.8bn, plus another $732m and €6.5m. Although it is difficult to account for currency fluctuations, at the current exchange rates this would be a total of more than £3.3bn or $4.6bn.

Notably, the median amount is only £3.3m and the average is £14.8m for the rounds in British pound sterling, which constitute the majority of transactions, or $49m and $72.3m for the rounds in US dollar amounts – of which there were only 10.

But beyond these numbers, Oxford achieved something far more remarkable during the pandemic: the technology of its spinout Vaccitech – which listed on Nasdaq in April 2021 following a $110m IPO – was the foundation for the covid vaccine in partnership with pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca.

Alexis Dormandy, chief executive of the university’s investment company Oxford Science Enterprises (formerly known as Oxford Sciences Innovation) which had invested in Vaccitech, said: “The fact that 98% of Covax vaccines are the AstraZeneca vaccine is because it really took a university.

“The people at the university deserve huge credit for coming up with a deal with AstraZeneca to give them the technology for free, and also the people in Vaccitech who contributed to giving that for free, which then allowed non-western countries to get access to the vaccine.

“I do not think it would happen if it was not a university venturing arm, because in money versus the good, the money would win.” He added: “It is a reflection on the importance of university venturing and what it can do.”

Another covid-related company was Oxsed, a social venture that was working on a rapid test for the disease. Oxsed launched in June 2020 and only five months later was acquired by Prenetics’ DNAFit Life Sciences subsidiary.

This was not the only notable acquisition that occurred during the pre-vaccine days of the pandemic – epigenetics company Base Genomics, which had raised only $11m in equity funding, was bought by molecular diagnostics business Exact Sciences for $410m in October last year.

Matt Perkins photo (c) John Cairns
Matt Perkins (photo © John Cairns)

Matt Perkins, chief executive of OUI, wrote in the office’s annual report: “Our spinout portfolio not only continues to grow, but to rapidly mature.

“Oxford Nanopore’s £3.4bn IPO is stealing the headlines, while many continue to scale towards their own flotations. Meanwhile, Yasa Motors held a prominent exit of its own with its acquisition by Mercedes Benz.

“As these develop, the overall ecosystem is moving from the gold rush days of the Oxford Boom to a more established community of innovators looking to create a rising tide of impact that raises all boats.

“While OUI’s role in the process remains at that inflection point where research transfers into the wider world, we believe we have a part to play in sustaining the momentum of recent years and using our voice and convening power to help our community thrive.”

That listing of Oxford Nanopore was grabbing headlines for all the right reasons: it marked a phenomenal success for the university and it also became one of the largest initial public offerings of a spinout in the nearly nine years that GUV has been covering the sector.


Woodford proves his worth too late

There is an elephant in the room when it comes to Oxford Nanopore’s flotation: Neil Woodford and his since-collapsed Woodford Investment Management, which also managed the Woodford Patient Capital Trust (now called Schroders UK Public Private Trust).

The listing was so successful, it made commercialisation firm IP Group a whopping £84m on the spot.

Oxford Nanopore was a core holding in Woodford’s flagship Equity Income fund and it could have netted investors hundreds of millions of pounds. However, administrator Link Fund Solutions sold the shares to Acacia Research for a fraction of its IPO valuation a year ago.

The spinout was one of 18 holdings sold for a combined £224m in June 2020. Nanopore’s price was reportedly £98m. Overall, Link Fund Solutions had offered such a cutthroat price that Acacia flipped the majority of the package, some of it within hours, and immediately bagged a profit of £150m.

Nanopore was one of two companies that Acacia held on to and it is a bet that has massively paid off for the patent litigation company.

Indeed, Acacia offloaded £16.4m worth of shares as part of the initial public offering and retained a 4.4% stake worth £149m at the IPO price of £4.25 a share. At the time of writing, its stake is worth £193m.

Neil Woodford
Neil Woodford

Is this hindsight enough to claim that Woodford was right all along? The root of the firm’s collapse was an overreliance on illiquid holdings that Woodford was unable to sell on when investors wanted their money back in droves – around £10m per day. Reportedly once worth £10.2bn, the fund was worth just £3.7bn by the time it was suspended in 2019.

The drawn-out process since the collapse has meant that many investors are still waiting for their money today – Link Fund Solutions continues to wind down the fund and is unsure when exactly this will be complete.

Adding to the chaos is the fact that law firm Leigh Day launched legal proceedings against Link Fund Solutions in September 2021 claiming that Link Fund failed to carry out its regulatory duty, as authorised corporate director, to look after the best interests of investors. Crucially, that claim covers both its decision since the fund’s suspension and the run-up to that suspension.

In his first interview since the collapse, Woodford showed himself combative in February this year when he announced his ambition to launch a Jersey-based investment firm – plans that failed. Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, he apologised saying “I am very sorry for what I did wrong. What I was responsible for was two years of underperformance – I was the fund manager, the investment strategy was mine, I owned it and it delivered a period of underperformance.”

However, he stuck to his view that the fund would have been successful and declared that had investors stuck with him they could be “enjoying the fruits of that faith”.

He added: “I cannot be sorry for the things I did not do. I did not make the decision to suspend the fund, I did not make the decision to liquidate the fund. As history will now show, those decisions were incredibly damaging to investors and they were not mine.”

The example of Acacia’s win with Nanopore would agree with Woodford’s claim.

There is an argument to be made that investors may have misunderstood the “patient” part of patient capital (the firm survived only five years). It was never a get-rich-quick scheme. Tom Hockaday, former head of OUI, wrote about Woodford in his compendium on tech transfer, University Technology Transfer: What It Is and How to Do It, and in a subsequent interview with GUV revealed he maintained nothing but respect for him – admitting he had no real sense of what went wrong at the firm.

“I think what Woodford did with patient capital and what he did with supporting the opportunities that brilliant UK science presents to UK business and UK investors was really positive,” he said. “The role he played in getting [Oxford Science Enterprises (OSE)] going as one of the founding investors was really positive. I can talk about the genuine positives of what he did in promoting patient capital, but the wrangling and financial management is just not a world I know.”

Arguably, Woodford’s mistake was not investing in unquoted holdings. That is a model that Nanopore has proved works – and it is a model pursued by others, such as London Stock Exchange-listed IP Group.

Woodford’s mistake was his decision to call the firm’s lead product the Equity Income fund. It created the perception that the fund would invest conservatively in companies that typically pay dividends, but unquoted stocks do not do that.

It is impossible to know whether this was wilful dishonesty, negligence or Woodford genuinely believed he was doing right by his investors, because he so passionately believed in university research commercialisation – he was, after all, a strong supporter of IP Group and one of the people who made OSE happen. But the result remains the same – investors were exposed to a risk profile that the fund name hid from them.

Is Nanopore’s listing vindication for Woodford’s vision? Yes. It is just a shame for everyone that he went about it all the wrong way.


OSE’s journey has only just begun

Oxford Science Enterprises is going about it all the right way. To date, the investment firm has raised £613m and invested around £360m of that, bringing another £600m from external investors into the portfolio. OSE itself is now worth more than £1bn after its creation led to an explosion in the number of spinouts coming out of Oxford.

Steadfastly pursuing its mission of putting impact over money, OSE reinvests proceeds and as of this year even donates 2% of its shareholding from each successful company back to the originating university department. If there is anyone else out there who does this, they have not advertised it – which seems unlikely and so this almost definitely qualifies as a unique aspect.

Dormandy joined from venture capital firm Atomico in January this year, taking over from interim CEO Jim Wilkinson who returned to his original post as chief financial officer. Dormandy immediately went to work of putting his mark on the organisation and established a group looking into how well, or not, OSE was doing on diversity and inclusion.

He said: “The way I describe it is we need to be an organisation that we will be proud of in 10 years’ time, not one we could have got away with 10 years ago.”

Alexis Dormandy
Alexis Dormandy

Describing the initiative, he noted: “We did a survey internally, there were bits we were good at and others we were not so good at. We have done quite a lot of work and we still have a lot more to do, but one of the things I am most proud of is that, without trying at all and being totally meritocratic, five of my seven direct reports are women. There was no conscious effort to do that.

“As it happens, the whole of the life sciences team are women, again by accident. But clearly it is a much bigger issue than just women, we probably have further work to do on the Black, Asian and minority ethnic demographic – I would not say we are bad, we are probably market average but I am not sure that is a benchmark to aim for.”

OSE has now rolled out a survey to its 55 largest companies to get the big picture and start benchmarking. Dormandy added: “We will pay for and support initiatives to try and push that all in the right direction. So, we take it extremely seriously and, like anybody, if they say they are winning that battle they are deluding themselves. Everyone is at an early stage, but we are definitely on it and take it seriously.”

Dormandy already has a noteworthy take on fostering diversity. He continued: “The question for me is not: do I encourage [spinouts] to have diverse leadership? If I ever see a longlist of people I am interviewing and it is not diverse, I ask: what are we doing? I do not think it is so much about encouraging people, I regard it as a moral minimum and a commercial minimum.

“And as I say, the fact that we have a lot of women work in our company has nothing to do with actively trying to reach people. When we look at a list we say, does that list look like a representation of the population – if it does not, then it is the wrong list.”

OSE’s success leads to an obvious question: should there be more university venturing funds? “In general, it is a good idea,” Dormandy explained. “The biggest issue is the people. This is a professional industry and if they can be done well with good people, there is a huge opportunity there. If it is done as a slight afterthought – thinking we should be a bit more entrepreneurial, how do we spin a few things up – it is not that they will do any damage, except that it might set things back by them not working out. Better to do it well early.

“If you asked me what it would be like in five years’ time, yes, they will be spinning up in other places. And if you ask me in 10 years’ time, there will be an industry that is probably literally 20 times the size it is now.”

Dormandy is not shy about doubling down on that vision. Joking that he had never read anywhere that an American accent was needed to build a Microsoft or Intel, he added: “There are three things that need to happen. We need to have the capability to build these businesses, not just spin them out.

“We need to have billions in cash, not tens of millions, to build these industries around them. And the last bit we need is the attitude to go after it, because there is a mindset about: what does success look like?”

It will not necessarily be a software company. It may be something as unusual as Refeyn, which Dormandy highlighted as a portfolio success he was particularly proud of. Refeyn has developed mass photometry technology – essentially, it uses light to measure the weight of molecules.

“I first met them before I joined Oxford Science Enterprises – I was introduced to the founder four years ago,” Dormandy recalled. “I trained as a doctor, but when a professor who is using light to measure the weight of things is talking to you about the detail… I was definitely struggling to keep up.”

“I had absolutely no idea what the commercial model was going to be,” he admitted. “What they do is essentially the same as a mass spectrometer, but they do it for $50,000 – a fifth of the price of others.”

The technology is so transformative, Refeyn is struggling to keep up with orders and is beating every milestone they could have. But that is not the amazing part – researchers have been writing to say the throughput of their labs had gone up fivefold since installing Refeyn’s benchtop machines, because people no longer had to queue to get access to one big machine.

“The democratisation of that technology is a massively important thing,” Dormandy declared. “The reason I love it is it has very strong, unique science that nobody else has and it appeals to me that I did not see it when I first met them, which is a lesson to all of us. You need to try harder and have a bit more imagination because that is part of the job here.”

The fact that Dormandy missed the opportunity initially was emblematic of the system, he pondered: “It would not have been funded by VCs, because the work of getting that science out into a business, there is probably two years of just doing that and there was not an investible business.”

The importance of OSE therefore can hardly be overstated. If the UK is to emerge as a powerhouse for innovation following the tumultuous years of a post-Brexit, post-pandemic world still ahead of us, university venturing will be a crucial component. It is important the government understands this – not just this leadership but all subsequent ones.

a chart showing the impact of Oxford Science Enterprises on the number of spinouts from Oxford

Some notes about this data:

  • The date formed refers to the date provided by University of Oxford as the date on which the company was spun out, not when it was incorporated with Companies House. The incorporation dates are usually a few months before the completion of the spinout process, but in some cases differ by several years.
  • The total funding has been rounded. It includes the equity declared by the companies in their most recent annual accounts, by University of Oxford to GUV and press releases by the spinouts themselves. They are correct, to the best of our knowledge, as of September 2021. The figures do not include any non-dilutive grants, debt financing or bank loans. Some companies have disclosed they raised money, but not yet how much – in these cases we elected to either leave the field blank or display the confirmed funding only.
  • Defunct companies have not filed any accounts for their most recent financial year or have an active notice in place by Companies House to be struck off and thereby be dissolved.
  • PharmaDM is the only company whose status could not be ascertained, although there are no records in Belgium’s official register and its software is now distributed directly by KU Leuven. It seems safe to assume the company has been wound down.
  • Startups are companies that have gone through OUI’s incubator only, they do not include startups from the wider university community.
  • At the request of OUI, the following list does not include spinouts in stealth mode.
Spinout Formed Type Active Exit Technology Funding
OxCarbon September 2021 Social venture Yes   Commercial carbon offset services  
OxCCU August 2021 Spinout Yes   Conversion of CO2 into sustainable aviation fuel  
Sandymount Therapeutics August 2021 Spinout Yes      
EndLyz Therapeutics July 2021 Spinout Yes   Treatments for Parkinson’s disease $3.3m
Amber Therapeutics June 2021 Spinout Yes   Bioelectronic platform initially focused on treating urinary incontinence  
LiliumX May 2021 Spinout Yes   Protein technology platform to facilitate scalable discovery of first-in-class bispecific biologics $125,000
OxVax March 2021 Spinout Yes   Off-the-shelf vaccines for solid tumours  
Oxford Green Innotech March 2021 Spinout Yes   Carbon-free transformation of ammonia waste into hydrogen  
Vaxine March 2021 Startup Yes   Supporting medical personnel in the deployment of the covid vaccine  
Viscera Technologies February 2021 Startup Yes   Predictive diagnostics technology initially focused on a test for helicobacter pylori £35,000
Ujji February 2021 Startup Yes   Gamified life coaching app  
Aisentia February 2021 Spinout Yes   Machine learning and AI to reconstruct CT angiograms using non-CT images  
Hydregen February 2021 Spinout Yes   Enzyme catalysis using hydrogen gas to recycle the NADH co-factor, reducing waste and lowering costs £120,000
Hare Analytics February 2021 Spinout Dormant   Behaviour-based analytics for business-to-consumer applications £10,000
Salience Labs February 2021 Spinout Yes   Photon-based computing; joint spinout with University of Münster  
Curacode February 2021 Spinout Yes   Laser-printed high-security, low cost authentication labels £30,000
Orbit RRI January 2021 Social venture Yes   Promoting esponsible research and innovation in information and communications technology; joint company with De Montfort University  
Augmented Intelligence Labs January 2021 Spinout Yes   Analysis and decision support systems for marketing research; first spinout out Saïd Business School  
Kleidox Therapeutics December 2020 Spinout Yes   Working with marketing insights companies to develop their marketing products  
Skylark Works November 2020 Social venture Yes   Social purpose-led consultancy  
Singula Bio November 2020 Spinout Yes   Neoantigen-based cell therapies for patients with solid tumours  
GTT Analytics November 2020 Spinout Yes   International maritime logistics simulations  
Quantum Dice November 2020 Spinout Yes   Self-certified quantum random number generator  
Global Campus October 2020 Social venture Yes   Sustainable, integrated and inter-university learning opportunities  
LitHits October 2020 Spinout Yes   Mobile app to encourage book reading  
Aistetic October 2020 Spinout Yes   Tailored clothing e-commerce app using computer vision and deep learning to generate 3D models of customers  
Carnot September 2020 Startup Yes   Ultra-efficient ceramic engines £273,000
OxLOD September 2020 Social venture Yes   Bringing the tools developed for heritage to the health data management  
OxVent September 2020 Social venture Yes   Ventilator designed to support covid patients in ICUs £203,000
OXDH August 2020 Spinout Yes   IVF and maternity health data platforms and telemedicine service  
Open Clinical August 2020 Social venture Yes   Open source and open access innovation in healthcare knowledge  
Oxford Simcell August 2020 Spinout Yes   Biosensors for food safety testing, incorporated in the UK but focused on China  
Blue Field Labs August 2020 Spinout Yes   Expertise and knowledge regarding data privacy, ethics, data security and public policy in connection with technology use  
Global Health Research Accelerator CIC July 2020 Social venture Yes   Digital platform for knowledge sharing  
PhishAR July 2020 Spinout Yes   Cybersecurity technology to thwart phishing attempts  
Dark Blue Therapeutics July 2020 Spinout Yes   Co-founded by OUI, Oxford Science Enterprises, Evotec, BMS and University of Oxford to spin out successful Lab282 oncology projects  
Base Genomics June 2020 Spinout Yes Acquired by Exact Sciences for $410m in October 2020, now incorporated as Exact Sciences Innovation Epigenetics company advancing technology to sequence DNA methylation developed at Oxford’s Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research branch $11m
CareerShe June 2020 Startup Yes   Helping students aged 5 to 25 to learn about the world of work and guide them in major life decisions  
Deep Edit June 2020 Startup Yes   Software-based photo enhancer for professional photographers  
Oxsed June 2020 Social venture Yes Acquired by Prenetics’ DNAFit Life Sciences subsidiary in November 2020 Focused on developing a rapid covid-19 test, joint company of University of Oxford and Oxford Suzhou Centre for Advanced Research £249,000
OxEd April 2020 Spinout Dormant   Platform to standardise assessments of language, reading and arithmetic skills in children £100
Bloomd April 2020 Startup Yes   Question and answer platform connecting elderly citizens to younger users £40,000
GaitQ March 2020 Spinout Yes   Wearable device that analyses the walking gait of Parkinson’s patients £625,000
Qdot Technology April 2020 Spinout Yes   Engineering solutions for thermal problems such as those occurring in fusion reactors  
Living Optics January 2020 Spinout Yes   3D laser spectrometer and single shot hyperspectral imaging £5m
Spintex Engineering January 2020 Spinout Yes   Scalable manufacturing process for spinning spider silk £306,000
Ivy Farms December 2019 Spinout Yes   Lab-grown meat £6.4m
Orca Computing December 2019 Spinout Yes   Quantum computing technology £2.9m
Ground Truth Labs December 2019 Spinout Yes   Digital pathology annotation tool £50,000
Infinitum Education November 2019 Startup Yes   Artificial intelligence-powered, gamified teaching  
Collegia Partners November 2019 Startup Yes   Pension fund management for SMEs £246,000
Global Malaria Vaccines September 2019 Spinout Yes   Germany-based holding company to receive EU funding on malaria vaccine development at the university  
Nucleome Therapeutics July 2019 Spinout Yes   Drug development using the non-coding part of the human genome £5.2m
Lime Biosciences July 2019 Spinout Yes   DNA assembly  
Gyreox July 2019 Spinout Yes   Design and rapid generation of libraries of molecules for previously undruggable targets £835,000
Machine Discovery May 2019 Spinout Yes   Optimisation codes for several verticals, beginning with nuclear fusion processes £100,000
Cristal Health (dba Akriva Health) May 2019 Spinout Yes   Software for the submission, de-identification and sharing of mental health patient records £3m
Oxford Ionics April 2019 Spinout Yes   Ion traps based quantum computing £180,000
MiroBio April 2019 Spinout Yes   Therapeutic antibodies for treatment of inflamation of cancer £31m
Rogue Interrobang March 2019 Social venture Dormant   Strategy gaming and consultancy £100
Oxford Immune Algorithmics April 2019 Startup Yes   Portable blood monitoring device, backup app and database £5.3m
Asymmetric Suzuki Reactions March 2019 Spinout Yes   Working with pharmaceutical and agrochemical companies to synthesise molecules £65,000
Greater Change March 2019 Startup Yes   Fundraising for homeless people  
Oxford Brain Diagnostics April 2019 Spinout Yes   Software for differential diagnosis of cognitive diseases £2.2m
CareCompare Services December 2018 Startup Yes   App that connects patients and families with care providers  
Oxstem Beta December 2018 Startup No In liquidation as of May 2021 Therapies to stimulate formation of new beta cells in the pancreas to restore functional beta cells in people with diabetes £1,500
Oxstem Immuno December 2018 Spinout No In liquidation as of May 2021 Therapies to induce tissue repair for chronic wounds and a range of inflammatory conditions £1,500
Cortex Organics December 2018 Spinout Yes   Scalable producton of cannabidiol £15,000
Sophia Oxford UK November 2018 Social venture Dormant   Non-profit accrediting businesses that bring their workforce out of multidimensional poverty  
Macrophox October 2018 Spinout No In liquidation as of March 2021 Cancer cell therapy company £3.3m
Ni2o October 2018 Spinout Yes   Brain implant to treat a variety of diseases  
Hello Display Materials September 2018 Spinout Yes   Light-emitting diodes using perovskite technology; joint spinout with University of Cambridge £796,500
Handsup Technologies August 2018 Spinout Yes   AI-based learning support applications; rebranded from Edtopia in May 2021 £705,000
Oxford Molecular Biosensors August 2018 Spinout Yes   Bacterial biosensors for detection and quantification of environmental contamination  
PQShield July 2018 Spinout Yes   Quantum computing cypersecurity £4.5m
Caristo Diagnostics July 2018 Spinout Yes   Biomarker to detect coronary heart disease £2m
1715 Labs July 2018 Spinout Yes   Commercialising Zooniverse technology, which powers a citizen science portal £600,000
HEXR June 2018 Spinout Yes   3D-printed personalised helmets £4.4m
Refeyn June 2018 Spinout Yes   Single molecule mass spectrometer £4.3m
Oxford HighQ June 2018 Spinout Yes   Sensor technology based on optical microcavities used in scientific instruments and chemical sensors £2.1m
Oxford Olefins March 2018 Spinout No Dissolved in June 2019 Developing novel catalyst process and route to high value internal olefins  
SugarOx March 2018 Spinout Yes   Crop stimulant  
PepGen March 2018 Spinout Yes   Drug delivery platform technology $157.5m
Odqa Renewable Energy Technologies February 2018 Spinout Yes   Geothermal technologies £775,500
Latent Logic February 2018 Spinout Yes Acquired by Waymo in December 2019, now incorporated as Waymo UK Machine learning technology for autonomous vehicles and traffic modeling £2.2m
DeepReason.ai January 2018 Spinout Yes   Fast and intelligent reasoning using public or private datasets  
PalaeoPi January 2018 Spinout Yes   Low cost three dimensional imagine of museum artifacts  
Oxford Sustainable Fuels January 2018 Spinout Yes   Catalyst production and processes for upgrading pyrolysis oil to high octane gasoline £1m
VeriVin December 2017 Startup Yes   Through-barrier Raman spectrometer to identify and classify complex liquids in sealed containers £300,000
Theolytics December 2017 Spinout Yes   Developing libraries of synthetic oncolytic viruses, with an initial focus on myeloma £5m
BreatheOx November 2017 Spinout Yes   Development of asthma monitoring system  
Brill Power November 2017 Spinout Yes   Electical and software controls for lithium ion battery storage £3.3m
6D.ai October 2017 Spinout Defunct Acquired by Niantic in March 2020, application for company dissolution filed in September 2021 AR/VR platform technology for the software industry £2.2m
MOA Technology October 2017 Spinout Yes   Screening and discovery of herbicides £8.3m
Opsydia September 2017 Spinout Yes   Laser fabrication in diamond structures £1.9m
Quantum Motion Technologies August 2017 Spinout Yes   Silicon-based quantum computer £9.5m
Alloyed July 2017 Spinout Yes   Alloy by design; rebranded from Oxmet in October 2020 £22.7m
InkPath July 2017 Spinout Yes   Career development software platform £1.1m
Ufonia July 2017 Startup Yes   Smart voice assistant for healthcare  
Oxtractor July 2017 Startup Yes   Artificial intelligence for social media marketing  
Oxford Quantum Circuits June 2017 Spinout Yes   Super conductors for quantum computers £2m
Cycle.Land June 2017 Startup Yes   Bike sharing scheme £552,000
Ultromics May 2017 Spinout Yes   Automated detection of cardiovascular diseases $59.1m
Scenic Biotech March 2017 Spinout Yes   Cell sequencing technology platform €6.5m
Oxford Semantic Technologies March 2017 Spinout Yes   Machine learning technology to run complex queries on disparate data sources £4.1m
Fungry March 2017 Startup No Dissolved in May 2019 Food purchasing and delivery platform  
SpyBiotech March 2017 Spinout Yes   Platform for vaccine candidate development $39m
ProMapp March 2017 Spinout Yes Acquired by Nintex in July 2018 Health outcomes £150,000
Oxonomy February 2017 Spinout No Dissolved in September 2020 Maritime trade and transport simulation  
Covatic January 2017 Spinout Yes   Personalisation engine built for the BBC £2.9m
SunReign December 2016 Startup Yes   Marketplace for solar energy £30,000
Metaboards December 2016 Spinout Yes   Ubiquitous wireless power and data using metamaterials £5.2m
Oxford VR December 2016 Spinout Yes   VR software to help treat phobias £14.3m
Oxstem Cardio November 2016 Spinout No In liquidation as of May 2021 Regenerative medicines for age-related cardiovascular diseases  
Enzbond November 2016 Spinout Yes   Software to predict enzyme function £1.7m
Proxisense October 2016 Spinout Yes   Blade tip timing instrumentation £3.2m
Circadian Therapeutics September 2016 Spinout Yes   Therapeutics and diagnostics for the treatment of sleep and circadian rhythm disruption £6.4m
Iota Sciences September 2016 Spinout Yes   Microfluidics technology £9m
Flying Fish Research August 2016 Startup No Dissolved in December 2018 Market research analysis  
Oxstem Ocular August 2016 Spinout No In liquidation as of May 2021 Regenerative medicines for age-related diseases £2.4m
Oxstem Neuro August 2016 Spinout No In liquidation as of May 2021 Regenerative medicines for age-related diseases £3.6m
Osler Diagnostics June 2016 Spinout Yes   Technology to follow levels of analytes in biological liquids £69.4m
OxSight June 2016 Spinout Yes   Glasses to assist the visually impaired £7.3m
SwitchThat May 2016 Startup Yes   Boiler monitoring app  
Oxford NanoImaging May 2016 Spinout Yes   Super-resolution microscopes £26.5m
Oxstem Oncology May 2016 Spinout No In liquidation as of May 2021 Regenerative medicines for age-related diseases £3.6m
Oxstem May 2016 Spinout Yes   Regenerative medicines for age-related diseases £17.5m
Newton Labs May 2016 Startup Yes Dissolved in the UK in September 2018 but incorporated in the US, where it continues to operate, in March 2018 Cloud-based tools for recruitment $400,000
Evox Therapeutics April 2016 Spinout Yes   Biotherapeutics for a range of severe diseases £114.7m
Argonaut Therapeutics April 2016 Spinout Yes   Precision medicine for cancer £5.2m
Omass Therapeutics March 2016 Spinout Yes   Mass Spectrometry £42.5m
Vaccitech March 2016 Spinout Yes Listed on Nasdaq in April 2021 following a $110m IPO Vaccine development $216.4m
Diffblue March 2016 Spinout Yes   Software code validation £18.9m
Mind Foundry February 2016 Spinout Yes   Big data analytics £14.8m
Zegami January 2016 Spinout Yes   Software, data query and visualisation tools £4m
Oxford Endovascular December 2015 Spinout Yes   Flow-diverter for the treatment of intracranial aneurysms £12m
Navenio December 2015 Spinout Yes   GPS-free navigation £20.2m
T-Cypher Bio November 2015 Spinout Yes   Drug discovery platform; rebranded from Orbit Discovery in November 2020 £14.1m
Bodle Technologies November 2015 Spinout Yes   Display technology using ultra-thin films £8.8m
Sonosine October 2015 Spinout Yes   Electromagnetic acoustic imaging; rebranded from Oxford Enhanced Medical in January 2021 £2m
Oxford Flow September 2015 Spinout Yes   Pressure flow regulator £13.3m
Gyana September 2015 Startup Yes   AI-based data science software £4.9m
Xerion Healthcare August 2015 Spinout Yes   Nanoparticle-augmented radiotherapy technology £3.5m
iOx Therapeutics July 2015 Spinout Yes   Cancer therapeutics £3.2m
Total Mama April 2015 Startup Yes   Healthcare service for women before, during and after pregnancy £50,400
Evershelf April 2015 Startup No Dissolved in September 2020 Cataloguing software for CDs, DVDs and vinyl  
Mixergy April 2015 Spinout Yes   Smart water boiler £5.5m
Animal Dynamics April 2015 Spinout Yes   Biology-inspired design of military drones £7.7m
UniQreate March 2015 Startup Dormant   Adaptive and self-learning data extraction  
Prolific Academic March 2015 Startup Yes Subsidiary of US-based Prolific Technologies Participant recruitment for online surveys £937,500
Wrapidity February 2015 Spinout No Acquired by Meltwater in February 2017 and dissolved in March 2020 Web data extraction  
Weird Science January 2015 Startup Yes   VR/AR tools for STEM subjects  
Singular Intelligence December 2014 Startup Yes   AI-based decision automation for retail and consumer goods £237,000
BibliU December 2014 Startup Yes   Online textbook platform £12m
PNLP December 2014 Startup Yes   Sports insights sourced through social media  
Oxbotica October 2014 Spinout Yes   Autonomous vehicle software £65.6m
Deontics August 2014 Spinout Yes   Evidence-based clinical decisions £2.8m
QXR Research Co A2 July 2014 Startup Defunct Originally known as Oxford Biochronometrics, defunct as of January 2020 Digital fraud protection  
Starticles June 2014 Startup No Dissolved in January 2016 Knowledge showcasing platform  
OxSyBio April 2014 Spinout Yes   Tissue engineering £11m
Designer Carbon Materials April 2014 Spinout Yes   Nanomaterials for applications including energy harvesting and biosensors £252,000
Edspire March 2014 Startup No Dissolved in January 2017 Online learning resources search engine  
Genomics March 2014 Spinout Yes   Genome analytics £66m
OxCept January 2014 Spinout No Dissolved in August 2017 Cybersecurity £580,000
OxSonics January 2014 Spinout Yes   Ultrasound medical device £28.8m
Nightstar Therapeutics January 2014 Spinout Yes Listed on Nasdaq in October 2017 following a $75m IPO, acquired by Biogen in March 2019 for $877m Gene therapy for rare, inherited diseases $95.5m
Oxford Mestar December 2013 Spinout Yes   Translational and regenerative medicine £2.1m
MuOx November 2013 Spinout Dormant Acquired by Summit Therapeutics in November 2013, licensing agreement with OUI terminated in March 2019 Treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy  
Oxford Biotrans September 2013 Spinout Yes   Specialty chemistry £7m
Okurso Social Technologies June 2013 Startup No Dissolved in September 2015 Lead generation by tapping into web and social media  
Perspectum April 2013 Spinout Yes Filed for a $75m IPO in July 2021 but withdrew in August 2021 Medical imaging for liver diease £48.3m
Esplorio January 2013 Startup Yes   Travel diary app £643,000
Run3D December 2012 Spinout Yes   3D motion analysis £480,000
Brainomix December 2012 Startup Yes   Medical imaging software to analyse CT scans of stroke patients £9.7m
OxiWay November 2012 Startup Yes   Recruitment software to scale the hiring process and remove unconscious bias £464,000
Onfido October 2012 Startup Yes   AI-based identity verification £152m
Oxford Vacmedix September 2012 Spinout Yes   Cancer vaccine development £9.5m
OxeHealth August 2012 Spinout Yes   Medical device to detect pulse and breathing rate remotely £29.5m
Intelligent Ultrasound July 2012 Spinout Yes Acquired by Medaphor in September 2017 for £3.6m, Medaphor changed its name to Intelligent Ultrasound Group in January 2019 Software to improve medical ultrasound imaging £2.6m
Active Inspiration Technologies (dba Fuell) July 2012 Startup No In liquidation as of March 2020 Digital health platform for employees £2.1m
Colwiz May 2012 Startup Yes Acquired by Taylor & Francis Group in May 2017 Research management, collaboration and productivity platform £1.5m
Oxgeos March 2012 Startup Yes   Geo-social games, community and advertising platform  
TheySay December 2011 Startup Yes Acquired by Aptean in January 2018 Deep learning platform to detect a user’s sentiment £2.3m
Oxford Cancer Biomarkers December 2011 Spinout Yes   Colorectal cancer biomarker tests £11.3m
Pilio November 2011 Startup Yes   Energy management software  
Oxford Imaging Detectors October 2011 Spinout No Dissolved in October 2018 Electronic microscopes £250,000
Oxford MultiSpectral September 2011 Spinout Yes   Multispectral digital scanners £988,000
Oxtex July 2011 Spinout No Dissolved in February 2021 Self-inflating tissue expanders based on hydrogel £6.8m
First Light Fusion July 2011 Spinout Yes   Fusion energy £44.2m
Cella Energy January 2011 Spinout No Dissolved in March 2016 Hydrogen storage technology £2.7m
Oxford PV November 2010 Spinout Yes   Solar cell technology £108.4m
Ixo Therapeutics November 2010 Spinout No Dissolved in April 2018 Immunotherapy £150,000
Kepler Energy October 2010 Spinout Yes   Tidal turbine energy production £250,000
OxEms June 2010 Spinout Yes The company filed documents as recently as July 2021, but has not updated its website since 2015 and there appears to be no discernible business activity Electromagnetic tags for underground utility network monitoring £2m
Oxepi February 2010 Spinout No Dissolved in September 2012 Epigenetics £431,000
Yasa August 2009 Spinout Yes Acquired by Mercedes-Benz for an undisclosed amount in July 2021, concurrently spun out Evolito which will develop the technology for aerospace applications Electric motors and generators £49.3m
CN Bio-innovations July 2009 Spinout Yes   Microbioreactor technology to improve drug discovery £19.9m
Oxford Financial Computing March 2009 Spinout No Dissolved in February 2012 Algorithms for financial apps  
Organox November 2008 Spinout Yes   Organ recovery for transplantation £28.4m
Maple Tree Energy November 2008 Spinout Yes Now incorporated as Trust Power, doing business as Loop Energy Saver Smart energy meter platform £6.9m
Oxford Emergent TB Consortium July 2008 Spinout No Dissolved in July 2015 Tuberculosis vaccine developer £4m
Semmle March 2008 Spinout Yes Acquired by GitHub in September 2019, now incorporated as GitHub Software UK Software engineering analytics platform £7.7m
Crysalin June 2007 Spinout Yes   Crystal structure determination £4.5m
Oxford BioDynamics June 2007 Spinout Yes Listed on Aim in December 2016, raising £20m in its IPO Chromosome fingerprinting £15.7m
Clinox June 2007 Spinout No Dissolved in August 2013 Development, conducting and analysis of early-stage clinical trials in oncology  
Fuel 3D Technologies February 2007 Spinout Yes   Handheld 3D scanner £34.1m
Alcolizer Technology UK November 2006 Spinout Yes   Drug testing £2.8m
Cytox October 2006 Spinout Yes   Alzheimer’s diagnostic £12.9m
Oxford Advanced Surfaces September 2006 Spinout Yes   Advanced coatings for polymers £4.7m
Aurox July 2006 Spinout Yes   Microscopy  
Particle Therapeutics June 2006 Spinout Yes   Needle-less injection £1.6m
Oxford Medistress April 2006 Spinout Yes   Stress diagnostic £2.2m
TDeltaS March 2006 Spinout Yes   Diet biochemistry £15m
Velocys December 2005 Spinout Yes Incorporated as Oxford Catalysts Group, acquired Velocys in November 2008 and listed on Aim Catalysts for gas-to-liquid and liquid hydrogen £1.5m
Celleron Therapeutics November 2005 Spinout Yes   Cancer therapeutics £12.1m
Oxbridge Pulsar Sources September 2005 Spinout Yes   Secure communications £25,000
Salunda June 2005 Spinout Yes   Industrial solid state sensors £9.6m
Oxford Nanopore Technologies May 2005 Spinout Yes Listed on LSE in September 2021 following £350m IPO Lab-on-a-chip £805m
EKB Technology December 2004 Spinout No Dissolved in July 2012 Bioprocessing to produce and recover chemicals in a single step £375,000
Surface Therapeutics November 2004 Spinout No Acquired by Serentis in October 2007, Serentis was dissolved in December 2011 Treatments for inflammatory epithelial diseases £1.5m
G-Nostics June 2004 Spinout No Dissolved in May 2012 Anti-smoking diagnostics £250,000
Avacta June 2004 Spinout Yes   Breath analysis £396,000
Oxford Consultants for Social Inclusion August 2003 Spinout Yes   Data analytics for socio-economic research £40,000
Riotech Pharmaceuticals July 2003 Spinout Yes   Hepatitis drug development £1.3m
ReOx May 2003 Spinout Yes   Drugs controlling the activity of hypoxia inducible factor £2m
Summit Therapeutics February 2003 Spinout Yes Listed on Nasdaq in 2015 following $34m IPO Chemical genomics £24.1m
BioAnaLab November 2002 Spinout No Acquired by Millipore in January 2009, Millipore itself bought by Merck Group in 2010, before BioAnaLab was dissolved in August 2013 Biopharmaceutical testing £1m
Oxford Risk Research and Analysis November 2002 Spinout Yes   Risk analysis £470,000
Oxford Immunotec October 2002 Spinout Yes Listed on Nasdaq in 2013 following $74m IPO, sold its US laboratory services to Quest for $170m in 2018 T cell measurement technology, including a test to diagnose latent tuberculosis infection and disease £66.2m
Oxitec August 2002 Spinout Yes Acquired by Intrexon for $160m in August 2015 Environmentally-friendly insect pest control £28.7m
Glycoform August 2002 Spinout No Dissolved in April 2012 Glycosolation technology £5.8m
Zyentia May 2002 Spinout No Dissolved in March 2010 Modification of proteins £2.9m
Oxford Biomaterials  March 2002 Spinout Yes   Biomimetic spinning of fibres £490,000
Minervation February 2002 Spinout Yes   Healthcare consultancy £16,000
Pharminox January 2002 Spinout No Dissolved in April 2019 Anti-cancer drugs £6.1m
Oxford Drug Design December 2001 Spinout Yes   Computer-aided drug discovery £7.5m
NaturalMotion November 2001 Spinout Yes Acquired by Zynga for $527m in February 2014 Interactive character animation £19.3m
Oxford Archdigital June 2001 Spinout No Dissolved in June 2009 Development of archaelogical-based IT applications £150,000
Novarc April 2001 Spinout No Dissolved in March 2006 Automotive components £1.5m
Oxford Ancestors April 2001 Spinout Yes   Genetic genealogy  
Oxford Bee Company March 2001 Spinout No Dissolved in September 2008 Pollination £335,000
OxLoc March 2001 Spinout No Dissolved in March 2010 Tracking devices £2.8m
PharmaDM December 2000 Spinout Unknown Also incorporated research from University of Aberystwyth and KU Leuven, the latter now maintains and distributes PharmaDM’s software. There are no records for PharmaDM in Belgium’s official company register. Drug design software £400,000
TolerRx December 2000 Spinout No Dissolved in October 2011 T cell therapies for autoimmune diseases, diabetes and cancer $150m
Oxford Biosensors August 2000 Spinout No Dissolved after entering administration in June 2009 Biosensors £9.7m
Mirada Solutions June 2000 Spinout Yes Acquired by CTI Molecular Imaging for $22m in 2003, in turn acquired by Siemens in 2005, before Mirada CEO led a buyout in 2008 and formed Mirada Medical Medical imaging software £200,000 (Mirada Solutions); £10.5m (Mirada Medical)
OBS Medical May 2000 Spinout Yes   Vigilance monitoring systems £26.9m
MindWeavers April 2000 Spinout No Dissolved in September 2014 Sensory and motor training technology £935,000
Sychron January 2000 Spinout No Dissolved in 2005 Software to develop policy-driven data centre management solutions  
ThirdPhase January 2000 Spinout Yes Merged with CMED Group in 2005 and rebranded to CMED Technology Clinical trials management £613,000
Omia December 1999 Spinout No Merged with Oxiva in 2001 to become Mirada Solutions, acquired by CTI Molecular Imaging in 2003, in turn acquired by Siemens Medical in 2005 Image analysis for measuring heart motion  
AuC Sensing August 1999 Spinout No Dissolved in November 2008 Sensor development £15,000
Oxonica August 1999 Spinout Yes Listed on Aim in July 2005, raising £7.1m in its IPO, delisted in August 2009 and re-registered as a limited company in February 2011 Nanotechnology for UV protection, security and biodiagnostics £5.1m
Dash Technologies June 1999 Spinout No Merged with Celoxica (then Embedded Solutions) in 2000, Dash became dormant in 2007 and was dissolved in May 2010 Parallel hardware and software design £500,000
Oxxon Therapeutics June 1999 Spinout Dormant Acquired by Oxford Biomedica in 2007 for £16m, dormant since 2008 Immunotherapies for chronic infectious diseases and cancer £21m
Avidex March 1999 Spinout No Acquired by Medigene for €50m in September 2006, Medigene subsequently spun out Immunocore and Adaptimmune to commercialise different aspects of Avidex in 2008. Avidex was dissolved in December 2012. Adaptimmune completed a $175m IPO in May 2015, followed by Immunocore’s $258m IPO in February 2021. T cell receptor technology £33.1m
Sense Proteomics November 1998 Spinout No Acquired by Oxford Gene Technology in 2009, in turn acquired by Symex in 2017 Autoantibody biomarkers for cancer and autoimmune diseases £4.2m
Celoxica November 1998 Spinout Yes   Ultra-low latency data access for electronic trading £28.2m
Promic June 1998 Spinout No Acquired by Biota for £6.4m in 2009, dissolved in October 2015 Antibiotics £21.4m
Synaptica March 1998 Spinout No Dissolved in August 2021 Neurodegenerative diseases £6m
Opsys February 1998 Spinout No Acquired by Cambridge Display Technology in 2002, in turn acquired by Sumitomo Chemical in 2007, before Opsys was dissolved in August 2013 Light-emitting materials £17.4m
Synergy Pharmaceuticals 1998 Spinout No Listed on Nasdaq in 2011 before being saved out of bankruptcy by Bausch Health Companies in a $195m deal in March 2019 Treatments for gastrointestinal diseases  
Oxford Gene Technology July 1997 Spinout Yes Acquired by Symex in 2017 DNA technology  
Oxagen April 1997 Spinout Yes   Treatments for asthma and chronic allergic and inflammatory conditions £98.6m
Oxford Biomedica August 1996 Spinout Yes Listed on Aim in December 1996 following an £11m IPO, before listing on LSE in 2001 Gene and cell therapies for conditions with a high unmet clinical need, such as ocular and central nervous system disorders £4.5m
PowderJect Pharmaceuticals October 1994 Spinout No Listed on LSE in 1997, acquired by Chiron Pharmaceuticals for £542m in 2003, in turn acquired by Novartis in 2006 before Chiron was liquidated in June 2014 Needle-less injection £3.7m
Oxford Asymmetry April 1992 Spinout Yes Listed on LSE in 1998 before merger with Evotec in 2000 to form Evotec OAI, rebranded to Evotec (UK) in 2005 Outsourcing for pharmaceutical services £5.5m
Oxford Molecular August 1989 Spinout No Dissolved in January 2016 Chemical information management £28.8m
Oxford GlycoSciences September 1988 Spinout No Listed on LSE following a £30.8m IPO in 1998, before being acquired by Celltech for £101m in 2003, in turn acquired by UCB in 2004 Biopharmaceutical research and development services £11.2m
Continuum (Entertainment) October 1986 Spinout Yes   Operation of historical sites  
Oxford Lasers October 1977 Spinout Yes   Laser micro-machining tools and high-speed imaging systems £285,000
RM November 1973 Spinout Yes Listed on London Stock Exchange in 1994 Educational IT services £4.5m
Oxford Instruments April 1958 Spinout Yes Listed on London Stock Exchange in 1983 Analytical and superconductivity instruments £153,000
Thierry Heles

Thierry Heles is the editor of Global University Venturing, host of the Beyond the Breakthrough interview podcast and responsible for the monthly GUV Gazette (sign up here for free).