Strategic investment in Techtran Group Limited

19 Jul 2004

IP2IPO Group plc ("IP2IPO" or the "Company") (AIM: IPO), the intellectual property company that commercialises university technology, is pleased to announce it has made a strategic investment of £2 million in Techtran Group Limited ("Techtran") in return for approximately 20% of Techtran's current issued share capital.

Information on Techtran

Techtran was set up in 2002 by Axiomlab Group plc to commercialise university intellectual property and has a long-term technology commercialisation contract with the University of Leeds. Under the terms of the contract Techtran receives a significant (30%) interest in spin-out companies created and technology licences negotiated in return for the provision of technology transfer services to the University.

The University of Leeds was rated as one of the UK's top-ten universities for research in the most recent national Research Assessment Exercise. It has an annual turnover of some £320 million and a research income of more than £70 million. It has been a pioneer of intellectual property commercialisation in the UK and was the first UK university to set up a dedicated technology transfer function. Filtronic plc was one of the first UK university spin-out companies and was founded in 1977. Another of the University's most successful spin-out companies is GMAP, which developed geographical modelling software to identify patterns in customer behaviour.

Techtran's business model is based on managing university technology transfer activities on an outsourced basis. Since 2002 Techtran has acquired significant interests in 15 University of Leeds spin-out companies and as of May 2004 had retained losses of approximately £500,000 and net assets of approximately £340,000.

Reasons for the investment

IP2IPO's investment achieves a number of objectives:
  • Through the investment IP2IPO will have secured an exposure to the world class intellectual property base of the University of Leeds from which Techtran will create value;
  • The investment will draw the two companies closer together. David Norwood, IP2IPO's Chief Executive Officer, will become a Non-executive Director of Techtran. IP2IPO and Techtran will work together to identify and combine the strengths of their respective business models;
  • The £2 million investment from IP2IPO will significantly strengthen Techtran's balance sheet.

Commenting on today's announcement, David Norwood, Chief Executive Officer of IP2IPO, said: "I am delighted that IP2IPO has taken a 20% strategic stake in Techtran. IP2IPO has known Techtran since its formation and there is a clear strategic fit between the two companies. The Techtran team broke new ground when it became the first group to take over the outsourced management of a university technology transfer office and since then it has established a strong process for creating value from the intellectual property assets of the University of Leeds. Now, as shareholders in the Techtran business, we look forward to sharing in the value."

Alan Aubrey, Chief Executive Officer of Techtran, said: "This investment marks a major milestone for Techtran. It is a testament to the quality of the research base and the success of our relationship with the University of Leeds and provides us with an improved platform from which to grow our operations. In IP2IPO, we could not have found an investor who understands our business better and there is enormous scope for the two companies to develop and prosper together."

For more information, view this press release in PDF format (PDF 20 KB opens in a new window)