Oxford University spinouts venture to raise £250m for innovation drive

June 28, 2022

An investment vehicle which backs companies spawned at Oxford University is tapping its global shareholder base to raise £250m in fresh funding.

Sky News has learnt that Oxford Science Enterprises (OSE), which counts the nuclear fusion technology start-up First Light among its portfolio of investments, has kicked off discussions with investors about the fundraising.

People close to the process said it would be the company's first primary fundraising since 2016, when it completed a £613m capital injection that was initiated the previous year.

OSE, which used to be called Oxford Sciences Innovation, has amassed a blue-chip group of investors which is regarded as rivalling any comparable vehicle in the world.

Among its publicly disclosed shareholders are Google Ventures, Sequoia Capital and Temasek Holdings, the Singaporean state fund.

In 2019, it was reported that the Chinese telecoms equipment manufacturer Huawei Technologies had also invested in OSE, although an OSE spokesman declined to comment on Tuesday on whether that remained the case.

OSE has backed dozens of technology enterprises in areas such as healthcare and education, and is believed to be the largest investment vehicle dedicated to academic spinouts in the world.

It both invests in companies set up at Oxford, as well as creating them itself.

Its most prominent investment is arguably its stake in Vaccitech, which created the biotech platform behind AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine.

According to its most recently published quarterly results, for the three months to the end of March, OSE's portfolio was valued at £662.5m.

The company has endured a turbulent period in terms of management churn, with several chairs and senior executives quitting in a short space of time.

Co-founded by Alex Snow, the well-known City executive who now runs Sensyne, OSE is said to be targeting its latest fundraising at a premium to its most recent net asset value.

Once completed, it is expected to use the proceeds to fund its share of follow-on fundraisings by OSE portfolio companies.

OSE is now run by Alexis Dormandy, a former Virgin Group executive.

Among the other start-ups it has backed or created are Osler, a blood diagnostics venture, and Bibliu, a digital textbooks platform.

A spokesman for OSE declined to comment on the proposed fundraising.

Rate this item
(0 votes)

HOW TO LISTEN

103.5 & 105.3FM

Online

Mobile Apps

Smart Speaker

Latest Tweets

SEASIDE FM CHOICES - check to see if you qualify https://t.co/jm5xZTmJdc
Great TIP - check to see if you qualify https://t.co/IfhOndUnax
SEASIDE FM CHOICES - check to see if you qualify https://t.co/mJbZ0EJTJz
Follow Seaside FM 105.3 & 103.5 #GetVaccinated on Twitter