Major investor backs Australian research

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The UK-based IP Group has signed a $200 million commercialisation agreement with Australia’s Group of Eight Universities (Go8) and the University of Auckland.

Under the agreement, IP Group has committed to invest at least $200 million over a 10-year period to fund investments in spin-out companies based on the intellectual property developed by academics at the nine universities, including in health care. 

The Go8 is comprised of the University of Adelaide, Australian National University, the University of Melbourne, Monash University, UNSW, the University of Queensland, the University of Sydney and the University of Western Australia.

IP Group's investment is being supported through a capital raise, which has seen the participation of new shareholders, Telstra Super, Temasek, M&G, Invesco, Woodford and Lansdowne.

IP Group said it believes the nine universities represent a significant source of world-class and potentially disruptive research. The agreements with each university are for an initial 20-year term.

“We are delighted to have signed this agreement with nine leading universities in Australia and New Zealand – and to be committing new funding to support world-class research and innovation to reach a global market," said Alan Aubrey, chief executive of IP Group.

"I would like to thank the teams at all nine universities for their positive engagement throughout our detailed development to reach this point. 

“The business model we are using is similar to the model IP Group has used successfully in the UK and the US; providing business-building expertise, capital, networks, recruitment and business support. We believe the model is ideally suited to the Australian and New Zealand markets and represents a significant commercial opportunity for all those involved.”

According to Professor Peter Høj, Go8 Chair and vice chancellor of The University of Queensland, “This investment is a massive vote of confidence from global capital markets in the quality and impact of research and innovation by the Go8 and the University of Auckland.  

“We know IP Group is constantly approached to fund university research. It could have placed this A$200 million anywhere in what has become a highly competitive arena. That it sought out the Go8 and was also able to attract Australian co-investors cannot be downplayed. It is a significant recognition of Australia’s leading research-intensive universities and the $6 billion a year of research which they undertake.”