Record-breaking year for Newcastle University spin-outs with £40m investment

Investments across life sciences, sustainable engineering and digital tech spin-outs have totalled over £40m in 2023. Created from research discoveries, the University’s 37 active spin-out companies now employ more than 300 people.

Spearheading the investment surge is Advanced Electric Machines who last month announced a £23m fundraising round. The funding will be used to scale up production of sustainable motors for the automotive industry, deliver on ambitious growth plans to establish a global sales footprint, and bolster R&D capabilities.

The Series A funding round was led by Legal & General Capital and Barclays Sustainable Impact Capital with significant additional investment from Par Equity. Other investors included Northstar Ventures, the Low Carbon Innovation Fund 2 and Turquoise Capital LLP.

Aelius Biotech has secured £1.25m from investment house, Mercia. Based at the Newcastle Helix innovation district, the company uses advanced insight to the human gastrointestinal tract to help companies design orally delivered products and therapeutics.

CellRev spun-out in 2019. Developed initially around an ability to grow new human corneas, their breakthrough technology is founded on being able to continuously grow, detach and collect adherent cells. Existing investors have added a further £1.05m to the Helix-based company.

XR Therapeutics has attracted £925k from Northstar Ventures and angel investors. The company uses immersive digital technologies to support therapists’ work with patients to overcome anxiety. By combining life-like digital scenes with face-to-face Cognitive Behavioural Therapies, patients are able to learn about and manage their anxiety triggers.

Angel investors and Northstar Ventures are also behind a £635k fund raise for Dragonfly Insulation. Inspired by the flying insect’s wing, the company uses silica aerogels to create fire-resistant lightweight insulation.

Other investments throughout the year have been secured by:

  • 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 – organ preserving technology to increase transplant availability and survivability
  • Marrabio – design, engineering and construction of bacterial protein polymers
  • Nunabio – synthetic DNA production for cutting-edge biotechnology solutions.

All told, investments across 16 Newcastle University spin outs in 2023 total just over £40m.