UCL Technology Fund announces first close of £100m fund

Funding | South East | Technology

UCL Technology Fund (UCLTF), managed by AlbionVC in collaboration with UCL Business (UCLB) (the university’s commercialisation company and part of UCL Innovation & Enterprise), announces first close of a £100m target Fund 2.

The new fund will continue to support UCL in achieving the full potential of innovations that have prospects for outstanding societal impact and commercial return.

Fund 2 has commitments from a combination of existing and new Limited Partners, including cornerstone commitments from British Patient Capital, the largest UK-based LP investor in venture capital, and UCL itself.  The fund’s purpose is to bring UCL’s academic research in life, computer and physical sciences to commercial reality.

UCL is consistently ranked among the top 10 universities in the world and one of only a handful of institutions rated as having the strongest academic reputation and the broadest research impact.

The second fund has an immediate pipeline of opportunities with world-renowned UCL academic researchers. In the life sciences these include innovative preclinical and clinical projects and spinouts. Based on pioneering gene therapy, cell therapy and drug discovery approaches, they are targeting a variety of indications with a global unmet need, including rare diseases, cancer and ophthalmology. In physical and computer sciences the fund also has exciting opportunities from the UCL AI Centre and in advanced materials.

Fund 2 follows the successes of the first fund, which made 45 investments including 27 that became spinout companies and programmes intended for licensing that have subsequently raised external funding exceeding £1bn and creating over 570 jobs. Other success stories from the first fund include:

  • Two successful Nasdaq IPOs: Orchard Therapeutics (rare disease gene therapies) and MeiraGTx (eye, salivary gland and CNS disease gene therapies)
  • A potential upcoming IPO: Freeline Therapeutics (liver directed gene therapies)
  • Bloomsbury AI (NLP technology), which joined Facebook’s London research team in 2018

Dr Celia Caulcott, Vice-Provost, (Enterprise) said: “UCL’s first Technology Fund is playing a vital role in our drive to translate the breakthrough ideas developed by UCL’s talented researchers into applications and products to benefit society and the economy. It’s a great step that we can announce the first close of the second fund. We look forward to this fund investing in intellectual property arising from UCL’s world-class research, taking technologies all the way from proof of concept to commercialisation through licensing and company creation.”

Dr Andrew Elder, AlbionVC, said: “UCL is one of the finest research institutions in the world. We have been enormously impressed with the quality and variety of investment opportunities presented by its academics over the past four years and the high number of world class opportunities continues. It is exciting to invest in the ideas and teams with potential to develop new treatments for debilitating diseases or completely change the way we live and work through breakthrough innovations in computer and physical sciences.”

Dr Anne Lane, Chief Executive, UCL, said: “We’ve had great success in commercialising groundbreaking research and finding value when combining our academic and investment expertise. The UCLTF model has helped progress work in physical and life sciences with a real and positive impact on people’s lives. We’re now looking to build on the success of the first fund and invest in the best and brightest ideas within UCL’s extensive research base and realise its innovative potential. During what is a testing time for the global economy, we must look to universities to foster new research and provide them with the right resources to succeed, from proof-of-concept to commercial application.”

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