Backing from Google Ventures drives Oxford Uni spinout fund past £300M target

Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI) has eased past its £300 million ($475 million) fundraising target. The University of Oxford-focused investment vehicle pulled in a total of £320 million after Google's ($GOOG) VC wing contributed to a fundraising drive that had already attracted Neil Woodford and other big names in British biotech.

Google Ventures' Tom Hulme

OSI's ability to raise such significant sums was underpinned by its privileged relationship to one of the hotbeds of British innovation, namely the University of Oxford. The university set up OSI in partnership with its tech commercialization subsidiary, Isis Innovation. And, most importantly, the partners made the investment fund the preferred provider of financial backing to spinouts from the university's life and medical sciences departments. Such a direct line to the next generation of British biotechs and startups in other fields has proven to be an attractive proposition to investors.

Woodford's fund, Invesco, IP Group (LSE:IPO) and the Wellcome Trust all chipped in to the initial £210 million round in OSI that closed last month. Since then, Google Ventures has thrown its weight behind OSI, helping the fund to clear its £300 million fundraising goal. OSI also added Tom Hulme and Dr. Krishna Yeshwant, both of whom are general partners at Google Ventures, to its advisory board. "Google Ventures' investment in OSI represents our faith in Oxford University's ability to develop the next generation of scientific breakthroughs," Hulme said in a statement.

OSI will have an opportunity to pick up sizable stakes in companies set up to commercialize these breakthroughs. The terms of the 15-year agreement give the fund the right to snap up 50% of the university's founder equity, The Telegraph reports. And with Isis supporting the creation of 100 spinouts over the past 15 years--including the likes of sequencing upstart Oxford Nanopore and Nasdaq-listed diagnostic player Oxford Immunotec ($OXFD)--OSI and its investors are positioned to gain a broad, deep exposure to the university's innovation conveyor belt.

- read the release
- here's The Telegraph's article