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10th September 2013: Imperial Innovations Group plc (AIM: IVO, ‘Innovations’), a leading technology commercialisation and investment group, has led an £8m funding round in Plaxica, a technology and licensing company focused on the production of next generation biopolymers and platform chemicals from renewable resources. Innovations has committed close to £3.9m, alongside existing investors Invesco Perpetual and NESTA Investments who contributed £3.9m and £0.25m respectively.
Plaxica’s technology enables the manufacture of a range of high performance polylactic acid (PLA) polymers and intermediates with improved properties and a reduced cost of production compared with PLA polymers already on the market. They also represent a sustainable alternative to current oil-based materials as they are bio-based, fully recyclable and have a smaller environmental footprint.
The global PLA market is growing at a rate of in excess of 20% per year, and is expected to reach $1 billion by 2016. Plaxica’s biopolymers are aimed at applications as diverse as packaging, electronic goods, automotive parts and textiles. The additional funding will allow Plaxica to construct its second lactic acid demonstration plant and to progress a number of important partnership and licensing discussions.
To date, the company has raised approximately £10m from investors; Innovations will hold a 35% stake upon completion of the £8m investment.
Plaxica was founded in 2008, built on work carried out in the laboratories of Professor Vernon Gibson and Dr Edward Marshall at Imperial College London. The Company has offices in London, and a pilot plant facility at the Wilton Centre in Cleveland.
Russ Cummings, Chief Executive Officer, Imperial Innovations, said:
“Plaxica has a strong management team, and its biopolymer process technology is rightly attracting significant interest from a range of industry sectors in both the US and Asia. This further investment of £8m is another example of our putting capital to work in our portfolio to enable Plaxica to convert that partnering interest into value.”
Philip Goodier, Chief Executive Officer, Plaxica, said:
“Since our Series B financing in 2011, Plaxica has made great progress. We have built and are now successfully operating the demonstration plant for our Optipure® technology. In addition, we have advanced our transformational low cost lactic acid technology to the point where we are on the verge of building a second demonstration plant for this process. Our intellectual property portfolio has expanded significantly and we have high levels of interest in our technology from potential licensees. I would like to thank our investors for the faith that they have shown in the company and our employees with this investment.”
Imperial Innovations Group Plc 020 7594 6506
Russ Cummings, Chief Executive Officer
Terry Nicklin, Director of Communications
College Hill 020 7457 2020
Adrian Duffield/Tim Watson/Rozi Morris
Notes to editors
Imperial Innovations - www.imperialinnovations.co.uk
Innovations creates, builds and invests in pioneering university technologies addressing global problems in healthcare, energy, engineering and the environment. It combines deep understanding of science and technology with commercial acumen and strong investment expertise. Innovations acts as the Technology Transfer office for Imperial College, providing IP protection, licensing and business-building services, giving it very early access to research outputs from this leading research university.
Innovations invests in companies based on technologies from or associated with four universities: Imperial College London, Cambridge University, Oxford University, and UCL, supported by collaborations with Cambridge Enterprise, OSEM and UCL Business. These are the UK’s leading research intensive universities, measured by research income.
Innovations supports scientist-entrepreneurs in the commercialisation of their ideas by:
• leading the formation of new companies and providing facilities in the early stages
• providing significant investment and encouraging co-investment to accelerate the transition from R&D to products
• providing operational expertise
• helping to recruit high-calibre industry figures and experienced entrepreneurs as executive management and Board members
Innovations raised £140 million in January 2011. In the year to 31 July 2012, it invested £37.9 million (2011: £35.1 million) in 29 ventures, and made 11 investments in new companies. In July 2013, Innovations obtained a £30m, 12-year loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to invest in the biotech and therapeutics sectors.
In its current portfolio of around 80 companies, Innovations’ assets include Circassia, which develops innovative treatments for a wide range of allergies, Veryan, a medical devices business developing improved stent technologies and Acunu, a Cambridge-associated business specialising in ‘big data’ with technology that enables its customers to create large, quickly accessible databases using low cost hardware.
Plaxica – www.plaxica.com
Plaxica is a technology and licensing company focused on the production of next generation biopolymers and platform chemicals from renewable resources. Building on work carried out in the laboratories of Professor Vernon Gibson and Dr Edward Marshall at Imperial College London, Plaxica was founded in 2008 and now has offices in London, and a pilot plant facility at the Wilton Centre in Cleveland.
Plaxica’s technology allows high performance polylactic acid (PLA) to replace traditional polymers produced from oil. It enables the manufacture of a range of PLA polymers and intermediates, important as replacements for today’s petrochemical products as part of a more sustainable future.
Plaxica’s developments enable a breakthrough in both the cost and performance of PLA. The Plaxica materials have superior physical properties compared with first generation biopolymers, and they can be produced more economically. They are designed to be fully recyclable and to have a small environmental footprint.
Applications for Plaxica’s PLA-based materials will be varied, and early opportunities exist in the textile, automotive, electronics, household and packaging sectors. Advanced PLA polymers are likely to compete effectively with conventional oil-derived products including PET, polypropylene and polystyrene. Plaxica partners with – and will license its technology to – the leading players in the PLA market.
The Plaxica management team has many years’ experience in chemical technology development, operations and licensing. Its investors are well funded and strongly support the achievement of Plaxica’s ambitious goals.
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