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31/07/2013

New agreement will see more co-investment in Welsh university spin-outs

More high-tech Welsh university spin-outs are set to benefit from co-investment from Finance Wales and the university commercialisation company, Fusion IP plc (Fusion) thanks to a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two companies.

Fusion has agreements with leading research-led universities in the UK to identify and commercialise emerging intellectual property (IP).  In Wales, it signed an agreement with Cardiff University in 2007 and in April 2013 signed an  agreement with Swansea University.

Spin-outs from both universities will now benefit from the new MoU, which builds on the success of the previous MoU signed in 2007 covering Cardiff University spin-outs.

The new MoU agrees a strategy for co-investing in opportunities resulting from Fusion’s agreements with both Welsh universities.

Welcoming the MoU, Steve Smith, Finance Wales’ Director of Technology Venture investments, said:

“Fusion IP is spearheading the commercialisation of some excellent IP from Cardiff and Swansea universities.  Finance Wales has already co-invested in a number of Welsh spin-outs thanks to the MoU we signed in 2007 and we’re pleased that even more Welsh spin-outs could benefit from our new agreement.

“Young technology ventures can often require a number of funding rounds before they become commercially viable and the availability of seed and series A capital is limited at the moment.  Having the backing of long-term investors with capital to invest over a number of rounds can make all the difference.”

Finance Wales has invested £6 million in six Cardiff-based Fusion spin-outs, including Alesi Surgical (formerly known as Asalus), Diurnal and MedaPhor alongside Fusion IP and other investors under the 2007 MoU.

Fusion’s CEO, David Baynes, is excited about the potential opportunities the new agreement will offer:

“We’re ambitious to create successful businesses from the world-class IP created at the universities we work with.  Both Cardiff and Swansea University have a number of excellent research departments with an interesting pipeline of potential commercialisation opportunities. 

“We have strong relationship with Finance Wales and together we’ve already been able to back Cardiff-based spin-outs with exciting potential.  With the addition of Swansea University as a partner university and the renewed MoU with Finance Wales, we’re looking forward to announcing our new co-investments shortly.”

Finance Wales’ co-investments with Fusion are part of its growing portfolio of IP-rich, technology-based businesses, many of which are bringing new, disruptive technologies to market. 

A leading UK technology ventures investor, Finance Wales invested seed and growth capital totalling £9 million in high-growth, IP-rich Welsh technology-based businesses in the 2012-13 financial year.

The availability of investment capital from Finance Wales has been pivotal in attracting a number of high-growth technology ventures such as Clinithink and Creo Medical to Wales.

Finance Wales invests in high-growth spin-outs and technology ventures from the Wales JEREMIE Fund.