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New Imperial College partnerships

London university Imperial College has formed an agreement with two asset management companies to facilitate external investment in the college’s spin-out projects. Fleming Family & Partners (FF&P) and Gordon House Asset Management have paid an undisclosed multi-million pound sum for a 30 per cent stake in the college’s share of a portfolio of 36 unlisted spin-out companies.

A Limited Liability Partnership, Imperial FF&P Gordon House has been formed to hold the portfolio, with FF&P owning 21 per cent and Gordon House 9 per cent. The deal will realise cash for the college and give private investors the chance to buy into its portfolio, through FF&P and Gordon House-managed funds. Susan Searle, managing director of Imperial College Innovations the university’s technology transfer company, said: “This is the first partnership of its type to be created by a university. It’s a new way of monetising value created in early stage start-ups whilst giving the investor a spread of risk across a diverse range of spin-out companies.”

The two investment houses have the opportunity to purchase interests in Imperial portfolios put together over the next seven years. Both FF&P and Gordon House intend to make additional funds available for follow-on investments in portfolio companies. Gordon House has funded two spin-outs from Imperial College, raising GBP5 million for Powerlase’s development of laser tools and GBP1.75 million for biopharmaceutical company, Gene Expression Technologies.

Sir Richard Sykes, rector of Imperial College, said the deal was also an important success for public and corporate affairs, a new organisation managing the commercialisation of the college’s intellectual assets, fundraising, alumni relations, marketing and corporate communications.

SJ Berwin advised FF&P and Gordon House Asset Management on the partnership and Bird & Bird advised Imperial.