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10 October, 2014 - 10:03 By Tony Quested

Imperial Innovations set to max £200m war chest

Imperial-Nigel-Pitchford

Imperial Innovations in Cambridge last night pledged to maximise a £200 million war chest to fund new technology plays in addition to its own portfolio companies in the UK.

Two years on from opening at Babraham Research Campus, Imperial recently raised £150m to top up its investment coffers.

Nigel Pitchford, who spearheads Imperial Innovations in Cambridge pledged at a reception for current and potential investee companies that the funder was determined to leverage every penny of the cash to boost Cambridge and UK tech ventures.

He said: “In our time in Cambridge we have seen our portfolio pack on incredible value while we have also invested in a number of new plays. We have seen a number of successful fundraisings and IPOs all of which have made us determined to grow our portfolio even further.

“It is our vision to help create more billion dollar businesses for Cambridge. We believe there is an appetite among tech entrepreneurs to achieve that status and we are pledged to do all in our power to help them reach that goal.”

The Cambridge reception was packed with a diverse range of science and technology companies at various stages of development in which Imperial Innovations has invested.

They included small cell backhaul pioneer CCS, Circassia (now worth around £650m after a successful London IPO), IXICO which reversed into Cambridge biotech Phytopharm, Abzena, Aqdot, Crescendo Biologics, Mission Therapeutics, Featurespace and Psychology Online.

A lot of market watchers are predicting big things for Aqdot whose proprietary and disruptive chemical encapsulation technology – developed at Cambridge University’s Department of Chemistry – utilises a novel one-step, shrink-wrap approach based on a combination of emulsion technology and supramolecular chemistry. 

This enables extremely tiny droplets to be produced that can carry ‘active materials’ – such as cleaning enzymes for domestic cleaning products or agricultural chemicals for crop treatments. 

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