Spin-out drives forward with university partnership

Spin-out drives forward with university partnership

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Case study by University of Southampton

Ilika forms new materials that have interesting catalytic, electronic and magnetic properties using high-throughput technologies, up to 100 times faster than traditional methods, developed by Professor Brian Hayden (who started the company), Professor Mark Bradley and Dr Samuel Guerin. Ilika’s technology platform was initially developed through a Higher Education Funding Council for England investment to establish a combinatorial chemistry centre of excellence in the UK.

lika forms new materials that have interesting catalytic, electronic and magnetic properties using high-throughput technologies, up to 100 times faster than traditional methods, developed by Professor Brian Hayden (who started the company), Professor Mark Bradley and Dr Samuel Guerin. Ilika’s technology platform was initially developed through a Higher Education Funding Council for England investment to establish a combinatorial chemistry centre of excellence in the UK.

The company was spun out when the current Chief Executive Officer, Graeme Purdy, was appointed. The company has since established a strong client base of multinational companies such as Toyota, Shell, Asahi Kasai and NXP, and its portfolio has already helped to accelerate the development of materials used in fuel cells, hydrogen storage and electronic memory devices. Many products Ilika has developed impact on broad and diverse markets, including the energy sector, for example, developing lithium ion batteries for use in electric and hybrid vehicles.

Ilika still retains strong links with the University. The University retains a shareholding in Ilika and there continues to be a close co-operation through a facilities agreement, which provides Ilika access to state-of-the-art equipment.

Graeme Purdy, Chief Executive of Ilika believes the ongoing support of the University has been key to their success: “We continue to work closely on collaborative research and business development as part of the University’s collaborative Business Incubation Programme.“Ilika provides direct evidence of the value of basic scientific research at universities, and the company’s formation is a testament to the University’s ability to help academics make best use of the intellectual property arising from their research.” - Prof Hayden, Ilka

In 2007, Ilika made the move to the University of Southampton Science Park, and in 2013 completed an expansion of a 200m² laboratory facility. The company’s growth has been financed by three rounds of venture capital, an initial public offering (IPO) on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange in May 2010 and a Placing in April 2012. Ilika was listedin the Cleantech 100 list, acknowledging it as one of Europe’s most innovative clean technology companies.

An industrial partnership with the University achieved a world’s first in solid state battery technology in January 2014, which was supported by the grant of UK patents for solid state battery methodology in May 2014.

This funding led to the launch of the University’s state-of-the-art Advanced Composite Materials Facility, which is unique to the UK. One of the first projects will be the further development and manufacture of the solid state battery technology, which involves the transfer back of experience gained at Ilika in the discovery, optimisation and synthesis of new materials.

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