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University of Manchester’s Innovation Factory creates another 10 new hi-tech businesses


Ten new, Manchester-based biomedical, science and engineering companies have been created over the past year by The University of Manchester Innovation Factory, producing cutting-edge technology and services which will benefit the entire world.

In addition to forming these new IP-rich businesses, the Innovation Factory, which drives the commercialisation of intellectual property originating from The University of Manchester (UoM), secured an impressive £6.4M of first investment into Manchester-based spinout companies as well as £4.9M in UoM licensing income.

With a team of 44 and drawing on the research of 3,500 university staff in the Faculty of Science and Engineering, IF assesses and scopes research with IP potential and advises start-ups on critical legal, investment and asset management issues as they scale up.

Innovation Factory Chief Executive Andrew Wilkinson has, in his first three years in post, overseen 32 IP-rich spin outs (nine in 2019-20, 13 in 2020-21, 10 in 21-22) and generated licensing income of £13.85M from third party non-spinout licensees (£1.55M 2019-20, £7.4M 2020-21, £4.9M 2021-22).

2021-22 has seen more than £26M of follow-on investment going into previous spinouts.

Wilkinson said: “Over the past three years the Innovation Factory has worked hard to meet our ambitious targets and fulfil our commitment to create positive social, environmental and economic impact by helping UoM academics and student inventors commercialise their research.

“We are proud to help the nation’s most visionary researchers and scholars transform their ideas and theories into a form that can be used to benefit people from all parts of the world. Manchester has always been the birthplace of great ideas and that pulse of innovation is as strong as ever.”

The 10 new businesses for 2022 are:

Apini Therapeutics Ltd – Novel Small Molecule Therapeutics for the treatment of inflammatory diseases without induction of immune suppression

Holiferm Ltd – Fermentation technology with initial focus on biosurfactants

Imperagen Ltd – An AI prediction of enzyme optimisation

Mi-Trial Ltd – Clinical trial companion system and app

Music in Mind Remote Ltd – Digital platform for providing music to people with dementia

Nexsys Ltd – Online platform for water management and planning

Polynerve Ltd – Synthetic polymer nerve conduit

Recon2 Ltd – System for measurement of recycled plastic content in packaging

Sebomix Ltd – A rapid, non-invasive test for the diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease and a wide range of other indications

Urban 360 Ltd – Intelligence to improve urban sustainability


Last year, the Innovation Factory was also instrumental in facilitating the formation of Northern Gritstone through a partnership with the Universities of Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield.

Northern Gritstone is an investment vehicle determined to be one of the largest investors into academic spinouts in the UK.

Chaired by former Goldman Sachs chief economist and treasury minister Lord Jim O’Neill, NG has raised £215 million and will complete a first close of more than £300M in late 2022.

From Jan 2023, Wilkinson will also be the President of SixU, the body made up of the six most successful commercial IP universities in the UK – Manchester, Oxford, Cambridge, UCL, Imperial and Edinburgh.

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