The UCL Technology Fund is dedicated to investing in intellectual property commercialisation opportunities arising from UCL’s world-class research base, focusing in particular on the physical and life sciences.
The aim of the Fund is to help achieve the full potential of innovations that have prospects for outstanding societal and market impact, right through the development journey from initial proof of concept to practical commercial application. The Fund supports commercialisation across UCL's research base by providing appropriate financial and commercial support.
The Fund manages approximately £90m of investment in funds currently under management.
Very early stage funding for pre-commercial evaluation and development of a technology, for the purpose of qualifying its potential for commercialisation, with an efficient approval process.
Funding can support further technical development, together with market and business analysis activities in relation to the project.
- Building a prototype to show that a bench-top/lab-scale invention works in practice, or supporting development of a minimum viable product for software applications
- Gathering data to demonstrate the efficacy of a proposed solution or compound
- In vivo proof of mechanism for a medical device, or an animal model for a therapeutic
- Obtaining expert guidance on factors relating to potential markets, regulatory issues or manufacturing/scale-up
Up to £100,000 can be provided for any given project, normally over a period of up to 12 months. Success of the project can lead to direct follow-on funding from UCLTF to develop the project to the point it can be licensed to a third party or spun out into a new portfolio company.
Potential projects are assessed on their commercial and technical merits, and the likelihood of achieving a successful outcome at the end of the proof of concept funding period which directly enables further commercialisation.
Significant funding amounts (up to £1m) to enable the development of post – proof of concept technologies through to the point where they can be licensed on attractive terms to a commercial or industrial partner who can fund development to full commercialisation.
Investment by the Fund will enable, for example, therapeutics projects to progress through pre-clinical testing and to a stage where they can attract significant grant funding to take them through to Phase I clinical trials; a point at which a pharmaceutical company could take the project forward.
Key criteria for selecting the licensing approach:
- Technologies and IP that form the basis of a single product or a single application are more likely to follow a licensing approach
- Clarity on licensing partners post investment from the Fund (e.g. multiple potential licensing partners identified)
- Corporate partners likely to be needed to effectively reach the market (e.g. complexities in supply chain and impact on access to customers, scalability of product and resultant economies of scale, etc.)
- Commercialisation activities are likely to require investment capital beyond the capability of the Fund
- Researcher prefers to focus on academic career objectives
Supporting the development of capital-efficient, strongly differentiated and protectable technologies all the way through to market, with up to £2.5m initially across several rounds of funding.
Most appropriate for post – proof of concept technologies with potential applications across multiple clearly addressable markets, or which can provide the basis for multiple products within a single market. An attractive approach for entrepreneurial academic teams.
Key criteria for selecting the portfolio company approach:
- Technologies capable of addressing markets of substantial size and of supporting sufficient-sized exit to provide an appropriate return on investment for a stage of technology
- Strong IP position based upon well-differentiated research
- Proof of concept/demonstration has been achieved and validated with external partners
- Entrepreneurial academic team & initial management team identified
- Underpinning technology has potential applications across multiple markets or can provide the basis for multiple products within a single market
- Clarity on addressable market opportunity and how that market will be reached