Record year for University of Manchester’s Innovation Factory

Record results have been announced by The University of Manchester Innovation Factory, the organisation dedicated to driving commercialisation of innovations and intellectual property originating from The University of Manchester.

The 2020/21 operating financial year, which concluded 31 July, saw the organisation exceeding their ambitious targets and fulfilling their commitment to creating positive social and economic impact by helping UoM academics and student inventors commercialise their research.

An impressive 13 new spin-out companies were created working across a broad range of technologies and applications. The businesses are:

  • SmartIR Ltd – Electromagnetic ‘invisibility cloak’ and thermal management for the aerospace industry
  • Aletheia Imaging Solutions Ltd – Reference targets for mission critical components made by additive manufacturing
  • InPepCide Ltd – New family of anti-fungal therapeutics with an initial focus on the eye disease fungal keratitis
  • Gene Gini Ltd – Reference gene software
  • Mantra Diagnostics Ltd – Hypoxic Tumour Biomarkers to support targeted treatment and drug development
  • Spotlight Ltd – New AI imaging software to speed up the identification of blood cancers by pathology labs
  • Tabrix Ltd – Novel therapeutics targeted at hard-to-treat pathogens such as TB
  • Ceydr Labs Ltd – A universal power management device with a wide range of applications including battery charging
  • Retendon Ltd– Synthetic tendon repair system
  • Careloop Ltd– An AP to help patients with mental health problems such as schizophrenia
  • Link Biologics Ltd – New range of therapeutics targeting indications such as dry-eye disease and osteoarthritis
  • Ravan Ltd – Identifying and repurposing drugs that can stop or retard cellular senescence
  • CrystalGrower Ltd – Software to help chemists and biologists predict crystal morphology and surface structure.

In addition to helping UoM academics and students create new businesses with their inventions, the Innovation Factory was able to support innovative commercialisation of new technology by licensing intellectual property. Licensing income for the financial year totalled £7.4M, 48% above target. Investment into spin-outs was approximately £44M, with £3.4M being invested into newly-founded spin-out companies.

Andrew Wilkinson, Innovation Factory Chief Executive, said: “The University of Manchester is a truly global institution, with a reputation for education and innovation that resonates across the world. The Innovation Factory has the responsibility to take the world-changing ideas and technologies that are created at the University and commercialise them to be used for the benefit of society as a whole.”

Furthermore, the Innovation Factory was instrumental in facilitating the formation of a new company, Northern Gritstone created through a partnership with the Universities of Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield. Northern Gritstone has been established to provide patient capital to commercialise the intellectual property emerging from its Founding Universities. Northern Gritstone’s ambition is to be recognised as the leading University IP spin-out business in Europe and is currently seeking to raise up to £500 million from institutional, corporate, and ultra-high net worth individuals.

Professor Luke Georghiou, Deputy President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, said: “These record results confirm the excellent trajectory of the University of Manchester Innovation Factory. With the added investment power of Northern Gritstone they mark a key step on the way to transforming the technology start-up landscape in the North of England and levelling up the UK economy. They are a credit to the Innovation Factory team and of course to the innovators and founders who made it possible with their breakthrough ideas.”

Roisin McCallion, Business Development and Investment Director for the Innovation Factory, said: “The team has delivered amazing results, under very difficult circumstances and the limitations caused by the pandemic. The fact that we secured significant investment in to the UoM’s spin-outs is a clear testament to the value these organisations offer to society.”

To find out more about the work of the Innovation Factory, please visit

/Public Release. View in full here.