UCL spinouts attracted £3bn investment in last five years

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UCL spinout businesses, formed to commercialise and scale up innovations in research, have created more than 2,200 new jobs and attracted almost £3 billion in investment in the last five years, according to a new report from UCL Business (UCLB).

The report, released to mark the 30 anniversary of UCLB, UCL’s technology transfer company, lays out the economic and societal impact of UCL’s spinouts. These range from developing new gene therapies for hard-to-treat cancers to using remote sensing technologies to protect critical public infrastructure, and social ventures that help children eat more healthily and create paint from mining waste.    

Key figures from the report include:
  • £2.85bn in external investment raised by UCLB spinouts 2018-2023.
  • 2,232 people employed by active UCLB spinouts.
  • 22 therapeutics being tested in clinical trials, with five approved for patients including a one-shot gene therapy for haemophilia.
  • 2,558 active licences for innovative technologies including the CPAP breathing aid, developed with Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (Mercedes-AMG HPP), which helped save COVID patients’ lives.
  • UCL is second in the UK for attracting external investment. 


The report follows the UK Government underlining the importance of university spinouts in driving innovation and growing the economy.   

In the Autumn Statement the Chancellor committed £20million ’proof of concept’ funding to support more academics to develop their ideas to a stage where they can be explored for commercial potential, stating: "Our world-leading university researchers need the right tools to start, scale, and grow innovative new businesses in the UK."

To mark the announcement, the Chancellor visited the UCL East campus on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, where he met spinout founders and venture capital business leaders. At the same time, the Government published a review into the university technology transfer sector including recommendations on best practice, which was welcomed by UCL and other leading tech-transfer universities.

UCLB identifies promising new technologies and uses its expertise to establish funding partnerships and licensing deals, and help academics to bring their ideas to market.

At present UCLB has 72 active spinouts in innovations as diverse as gene therapies, artificial intelligence, carbon reduction and wireless monitoring.

Dr Anne Lane, CEO of UCL Business, said: "As this report highlights, UCL’s world-leading research and the spinout businesses created from it are an engine of innovation-led growth.

"But behind every spinout success are also individual stories of impact. Whether it’s through life-saving gene therapies, pioneering technologies, or community projects, there are people across the world who have been positively impacted by the work we do alongside UCL researchers and academics."

The document outlines the many successful spinout businesses created from UCL’s ground-breaking research. As well as creating jobs and economic impact, these spinouts scale up solutions to complex societal challenges, from reducing carbon emissions to therapies for rare hereditary diseases. 

Since 2018 five UCL spinouts have made an initial public offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq, collectively raising external investment of over £2 billion: Orchard Therapeutics, Autolus, Freeline Therapeutics, Achilles Therapeutics, and MeiraGTx.

Examples of spinouts:
  • Autolus , whose b reakthrough immunotherapy cancer treatments - originally developed at the UCL Cancer Institute - are now being used to treat patients with leukaemias and lymphomas which have failed to respond to standard treatments. Autolus has already raised $921.6m at IPO and post IPO.
  • Senceive , whose wireless condition monitoring systems reduce customers’ costs by up to 80% and which employs 80 people and operates in 10 countries.
  • Endomag , which is revolutionising breast cancer surgery. Its technologies are used in more than 1,000 hospitals across the world with 450,000 patients benefiting.
  • TrimTots , which is giving kids a healthier start with the only evidence-based programme effective in the prevention and management of obesity in preschool children. The scheme is successfully delivered in 11 centres.
  • Endomag technology being used in breast cancer surgery

Mark Greaves

E: m.greaves [at] ucl.ac.uk

+44 (0)20 3108 9485
  • University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT (0) 20 7679 2000