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The University of Southampton

School of Chemistry spin-out company lists on London stock exchange

Published: 6 May 2010

School of Chemistry spin-out company, Ilika plc, has announced its intention to float on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange at a market capitalisation of £18.7m. Their first day of trading will be 14 May.

Ilika, which operates from the University's Science Park at Chilworth, has established a strong client base of multi-national companies such as Toyota, Shell, Asahi Kasai and NXP, and is one of 12 successful companies that have been spun out from Southampton since 2000.

The technology platform used by Ilika was initially developed at the University through an investment of more than £6m from the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

The company was founded to use technology developed by Professors Mark Bradley, Brian Hayden and Mike Hursthouse and Dr Samuel Guerin of the University’s School of Chemistry.

Since being spun-out of the University of Southampton in 2004, the company has established itself as a global leader in the development and application of innovative research and development techniques for the discovery of new materials. It has developed many products that impact on broad and diverse markets, including the energy and healthcare sectors. For example, developing lithium ion batteries for use in electric and hybrid vehicles.

Professor Don Nutbeam, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton, says: “In a tough economic climate, innovation companies of high quality generate real value and stimulate the economy. The University of Southampton has a global reputation for its spin-out creation and direct economic impact, having previously been recognised as one of the top three universities internationally for successful spin-out operations along with Stanford University in the US and Cambridge.

“The listing of Ilika shows that universities are contributing directly to growth in the economy with globally competitive companies born from international research excellence.”

In addition to Ilika’s success, Southampton spin-out companies across the board continue to thrive in a difficult economic climate. In the last year they have raised £37m combined in private and public investment.

Dr Tony Raven, Director of Research and Innovation Services at the University says: “University research and its commercialisation represent part of the UK’s investment in innovation, and innovation is the engine of our economy.

“This is another example of how the University of Southampton is getting its research out of the lab and into the marketplace. Not only is Ilika helping to develop the clean technologies of the future, which will power our cars, homes and businesses, they are a thriving, dynamic company that is creating jobs and having positive economic impact on the local and national economy.”

Graeme Purdy, Chief Executive of Ilika says: “The ongoing support of the University has been key to our success. We continue to work closely on collaborative research and business development as part of the University’s collaborative Business Incubation Programme.”

Three other University of Southampton spin-out companies have already been floated on AIM with a combined market capitalisation value of £160 million: oil exploration company Offshore Hydrocarbon Mapping (OHM), asthma research company Synairgen, and fibre laser manufacturer, SPI Lasers.

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