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Auckland Uni gets share of $215m fund

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 30/05/2017

University of Auckland © Getty Images University of Auckland Auckland University's commercialisation company UniServices has inked a deal that could increase the number of companies spun out of the university's research and development activities.

Under the terms of the agreement, Auckland University and eight Australian universities will together receive investment of at least $215 million over 10 years to find and develop companies involved in "disruptive innovation".

These would be in areas such as digital medicine, new medical therapies and quantum computing, UniServices said.

The commercialisation agreements - the first of their kind in Australasia - were signed between London-listed IP Group's subsidiary IP Group Australia and the nine universities.

The investment is being supported through a capital raising, which has seen the participation of new shareholders including Telstra Super, Temasek and M&G, as well as existing shareholders Invesco, Woodford and Lansdowne, IP Group said in a statement.

"This partnership will give New Zealand scientists and researchers access to vital capital that will help develop young, technology-intensive ventures arising from university-led research to take their products and ideas to the world," said Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith.

In return, the IP Group has the first right of refusal for all arising commercialisation opportunities, Mr Goldsmith said.

Andy Shenk, chief executive of UniServices, says the investment and its associated support fills a funding and skills gap that exists in New Zealand and will enable the team to bring many more ideas and research to market readiness and beyond.

Each year UniServices works on some 1200 projects with more than 300 New Zealand and global firms.

In 2016, UniServices generated revenues of $114 million, executed more than 50 licences for intellectual property and created more than 11 businesses to commercialise university research.

The Australian universities include the University of Adelaide, Australian National University, University of Melbourne, Monash University, UNSW Sydney, University of Queensland, University of Sydney, University of Western Australia.

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