Brunel University Signs Exclusive 4.5 Million Deal with Close Venture Management to Fund Spin Outs

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Brunel University today announces a significant boost to its spin out activities with an expected 4.5 million funding from Close Venture Management (CVM) a division of Close Brothers Group plc and a market leader in Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs). In an exclusive agreement with Brunel University Enterprises Limited (BUEL), CVM has agreed to set aside ten per cent of a projected 45 million VCT to invest in spin out companies from Engineering Departments and the Wolfson Centre for Materials Processing.

Professor Steven Schwartz, Vice Chancellor, Brunel University comments: The deal with Close Venture Management is a fantastic opportunity for BUEL to offer early development funding to Engineering spin-outs. This sort of funding is almost impossible to secure - the Venture Capital funds just do not exist and as a result, high potential ideas are effectively stymied.

Brunel University, one of the UKs most highly rated engineering institutions, set up BUEL in 2001 to commercialise university intellectual property through spin out companies. Since its inception, BUEL has secured participation in two seed-stage investment funds. The deal with CVM will now allow BUEL to offer next stage funding to its spin out companies.

Brunel Universitys particular Engineering strengths lie in four areas that have the potential to generate a number of future spinouts and licensing opportunities:

    1. Mechanical Engineering - specialising in environment, biomedical and automotive engineering

    2. Materials Engineering - the Wolfson Centre for Materials Processing is one of the leading departments for materials engineering in the UK. Exciting new areas include polymer and composite processing, biodegradable materials for packaging and nanomaterial technology for implants

    3. Electronic and Computer Engineering - a leader in the field of multi-media and network systems, novel imaging technologies and power generation

    4. Design and Systems Engineering - a national leader in product and industrial design. Notable projects include development of devices for intelligent drug dispersion, doctor-on-a-chip, sensors for acoustic emission and pressure, intelligent command systems and sustainable electronics manufacturing

Over the past few years, BUEL has been increasingly active in directing the output of research into economically viable businesses. Recent spinouts include:

  • Dynamic Extractions Ltd has the potential to produce significant improvements in costs and performance for the pharmaceutical industry through the application of its technology that will result in a range of high performance liquid/liquid extraction centrifuges
  • Active Fasteners Ltd has developed the technology of self-releasing fasteners that may be used in the electronic consumer goods and automotive parts industries. This is a critical asset to enable cost effective compliance with recent EU recycling legislation
  • Advanced Acoustic Emission Systems Ltd commercialises technology enabling early detection of material deformation in components, machines, processes and, potentially, structures. This methodology enables much earlier detection of faults than in other condition monitoring methods.

Most recently, Brunel University has been the lead institution behind the Higher Education Funding Council (HEIF) award of 10.5 million funding (the second largest in the country). This results from a consortium bid entitled WestFocus to create and manage a commercialisation platform spanning seven higher education institutes.

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