IP Group plc - Completes investment into Marblar

06 Jun 2012

IP Group plc (LSE: IPO) ("IP Group" or "the Company" or "the Group"), the developer of intellectual property based businesses, is pleased to announce that it has completed a tranched investment of up to £371,000 into Marblar Ltd ("Marblar"), a new platform that aims to move inert intellectual property forward by "gamifying" technology transfer.

Marblar has developed an online network for inventors, from individuals to universities and corporates, to interact directly with the scientific research community to come up with novel ways to exploit scientific discoveries.

IP Group participated in a successful pilot version of the Marblar service earlier this year by sponsoring a competition to find new commercial applications for a recent discovery in DNA chemistry from the Southampton Nucleic Acid Research Group led by Professor Tom Brown (www.browngroupnucleicacidsresearch.org.uk/). The University of Southampton is one of IP Group's partner universities. Within three weeks, one of the competition entrants on the Marblar network had come up with a novel application which is now being evaluated by the Group as a potential new spin-out company.

Professor Brown's work has produced 300 publications/patents and 3 successful start-up companies - Oswel Research Products Ltd (which was acquired by Eurogentec), ATDBio Ltd and Primer Design Ltd. He has received numerous awards including the Royal Society of Edinburgh MakDougall-Brisbane prize for research, the Royal Society of Chemistry Josef Loschmidt prize and awards for Nucleic Acid Chemistry and Interdisciplinary research. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Marblar plans to launch commercially over the summer with a number of competitions open to its network members to participate in. It is currently in discussions with individuals, PLCs, universities, not-for-profit organisations, research councils and even a Formula 1 team to have their scientific discoveries placed on the network. By engaging large numbers of researchers in each competition, Marblar increases the chance of finding the key application needle in the haystack of potential markets, offering prizes and online rewards to incentivise individuals to come up with a key opportunity or application for specific scientific intellectual property.

IP Group has committed a total of up to £371,000 into Marblar, subject to certain milestones being met. Assuming the full amount is invested, the Group will have a 33.1% undiluted beneficial interest in Marblar.

Alan Aubrey, Chief Executive Officer of IP Group, said: "What Marblar is offering is an innovative way of unearthing new applications for existing science that might otherwise be overlooked and complements our existing model. We see this as a great source of new ideas, and potentially new companies, that could ultimately benefit UK plc as a whole."

Dan Perez, CEO of Marblar, said: "Marblar is here to pull back the veil that often leaves the process of tech transfer in the hands of a few individuals. We believe that campuses are, ipso facto, brimming with diverse talent - we're going to set that talent in motion towards moving inert IP. It's a shame that more than 90% of university disclosures sit on a shelf collecting dust because the path to market isn't obvious. Together with our Marblars, we're going to change that and, in the process, change the world."

Professor Tom Brown said: "The opportunity for us to throw our click DNA technology open to a talented and enthusiastic young group of scientists was too good to miss and the outcome was simply stunning! Rather than the end of a competition we see this as the beginning of an exciting new venture."

For more information, please contact: 

IP Group plc

www.ipgroupplc.com

Alan Aubrey, Chief Executive Officer            

+44 (0) 20 7444 0050

Liz Vaughan-Adams, Communications   

+44 (0) 20 7444 0062 / +44 (0) 7979 853 802 liz.vadams@ipgroupplc.com

FTI Consulting

 

John Dineen, Simon Conway

+44 (0) 20 7831 3113

Notes for editors

About IP Group

IP Group is a leading UK intellectual property ("IP") commercialisation company, developing technology innovations primarily from its research intensive partner universities. The Group offers more than traditional venture capital, providing its companies with access to business building expertise, networks, recruitment and business support.

The Company's portfolio comprises holdings in over 60 companies including Oxford Nanopore Technologies, the DNA sequencing development company, Revolymer, best known for its removable chewing gum and Xeros, which has received many accolades for its revolutionary clothes washing techniques with a much reduced requirement for water.

The portfolio includes early stage to mature businesses and has exposure to five main sectors - Energy & Renewables, Medical Equipment & Supplies, Pharma & Biotech, IT & Communications and Chemicals & Materials. To date, fourteen of the portfolio companies IP Group has backed have listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange and one on PLUS Markets.

Founded in 2001, IP Group listed on AIM in October 2003 and moved to the Official List in June 2006. The Group now has long-term partnerships with twelve core universities including those under its commercialisation agreement with Fusion IP plc.

For more information, please visit our website at www.ipgroupplc.com.

About Marblar

Founded by 26 year old Daniel Perez, a dual PhD student at the University of Oxford and The Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, California, Marblar is a new platform that aims to move inert intellectual property forward by "gamifying" technology transfer to identify new applications.

Marblar has developed an online network for inventors, from individuals to universities and corporates, to interact directly with the scientific research community or "Marblars" to come up with new commercial applications for their scientific discoveries. By engaging large numbers of researchers or "Marblars" in each competition, Marblar increases the chance of finding the key application needle in the haystack of potential markets, offering prizes and online rewards to incentivise individuals to come up with a key opportunity or application for specific scientific intellectual property.

Dan is also the founder of the Oxbridge Biotech Roundtable which, in less than one year, has become the UK's largest student-led life science entrepreneurial organisation, comprising over 4,000 members.

www.marblar.com