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IP Group extends deal with The University of Manchester to include graphene

27 Jan 2014

IP Group plc (LSE: IPO) ("IP Group" or "the Company" or "the Group"), the developer of intellectual property based businesses, is delighted to announce that it has extended its commercialisation agreement with The University of Manchester ("the University") through its technology transfer company, UMI3 Ltd, to include Proof-of-Principle (“PoP”) funding for graphene projects.

Graphene activity is now included in the IP Group's agreement
Graphene activity is now included in the IP Group's agreement

The Group also announces that, subject to completion of its Capital Raising announced on 23 January 2014,  it intends to commit a further £2.5 million of funding, bringing the total to £7.5 million, under the revised terms of the agreement which has also been extended to 2019. The Capital Raising is due to complete on 14 February 2014.

Sir Kostya Novoselov and Sir Andre Geim first isolated graphene at The University of Manchester in 2004 and their ground-breaking experiments on the material earned them the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2010.

The University is also the home of the National Graphene Institute (NGI). The £61m 7,600 square metre building, which is due to open next year, will house state-of-the-art facilities. Funding for the NGI will come from the Government (£38m from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council), as part of £50m allocated for graphene research, and from the European Research and Development Fund (£23m).

Graphene, a two dimensional material consisting of a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb or chicken wire structure, is the thinnest material known and yet also one of the strongest. It conducts electricity as efficiently as copper and outperforms all other materials as a conductor of heat.

Alan Aubrey, Chief Executive of IP Group, said: "The University is world famous for being the home of the isolation of graphene and we are delighted to have reached agreement with UMI3 around funding graphene projects. IP Group’s first graphene company, Applied Graphene Materials, floated on AIM in November and we look forward to making more investments in this exciting area.”

Clive Rowland, UMI3 CEO, said: “The University has been developing a number of intellectual property projects which have now reached the stage where Proof-of-Principle investment is necessary to take them to the next phase and to bring on another set of inventions coming through our system. The University’s very active engagement with industrial companies is informing our understanding of which graphene areas are most relevant to develop and the possibilities for setting up intellectual property joint ventures with companies already in the market place means that our projects will be well placed for market adoption. We have been working with IP Group since last year and feel that its expertise, resources and investment capital adds significant and complementary value to our own well regarded innovation system and networks. A partnership of this nature achieves a critical mass necessary to succeed in an emerging technology field like graphene.”

IP Group signed its original agreement with the University, through UMI3, in February 2013. Under the terms of that agreement, IP Group agreed to create a PoP funding facility for the identification and formation of new spin-out companies and to make available an initial facility of up to £5 million to provide capital to new proof of principle projects intended for commercialisation through spin-out companies.

In return, IP Group receives equity stakes in such spin-out companies on pre-agreed terms and has the right to invest further in these companies as they progress. In addition, IP Group provides access to its relevant experts, business building expertise, mentoring, coaching and co-investing networks, recruitment and business support.