Newcastle University is celebrating a record year for funding raised by its spinouts.

Investments across life sciences, sustainable engineering and digital tech spin-outs totalled over £40 million in 2023. Created from research discoveries, these 37 active spinout companies now employ more than 300 people.

Spearheading the investment surge is Advanced Electric Machines, which last month announced a £23m fundraising round to scale up production of sustainable motors for the automotive industry.

Other firms backed include Aelius Biotech, which uses advanced insight to the human gastrointestinal tract to help companies design orally delivered products and therapeutics; CellRev, behind breakthrough technology to continuously grow, detach and collect adherent cells; XR Therapeutics, which uses immersive digital technologies to support therapists’ work with patients to overcome anxiety; Dragonfly Insulation, a technology inspired by the flying insect’s wing; AMLo Biosciences, working with cancer biomarkers to improve patient outcomes; Gitlife, providing proof of ownership and provenance for engineered biological assets; Mignon, developing novel edge, AI chip architecture; ScubaTX, behind organ preserving technology to increase transplant availability and survivability; Marrabio, which is designing, engineering and constructing bacterial protein polymers; and Nunabio, enabling synthetic DNA production for cutting-edge biotechnology solutions.

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Negotiations are also at an advanced stage for two further investments set to be announced in early 2024.

A key enabler has been the Northern Accelerator scheme, a collaboration between Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland, Teesside and York Universities which provides specialist support including pre-incorporation funding and the placement of experienced executives into spinouts.

Richard Baker, programme lead for Northern Accelerator and director of economic development and commercialisation at Durham University, said: “The investment raised by these spinouts in 2023 demonstrates both the great potential for business creation which exists in North East universities and the value of the support delivered though the Northern Accelerator programme.

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“Our collaboration set out to revolutionise research commercialisation in the North East’s universities and continues to deliver on this ambition. 

“Newcastle University is one of our founder members alongside Durham, Northumbria and Sunderland, and supports a strong pipeline of innovative commercial opportunities and it is great to see the confidence that investors have in the high potential and de-risked commercial opportunities spinning out with Northern Accelerator support.”

Further support comes from an angel investor group formed by Newcastle University earlier this year to provide very early stage pre-seed or seed investments into spin-outs. Two companies have already benefited from investments from this group.

Newcastle University’s head of company creation, Rick McCordall, said: “We’re delighted to see such strong investor confidence in our spin out companies.

“Our goal when developing new companies is to create high-value jobs in the North East of England. To do this we need to bring together world-leading research and discovery with commercial know-how and investor backing.

“I think that the investment successes this year show that we have a strong, investor-friendly approach to ownership and company growth.”

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