Southampton University, UK, is spinning out a new combinatorial chemistry company called Ilika.
Southampton University, UK, is spinning out a new combinatorial chemistry company called Ilika. The company has secured an undisclosed amount of initial financing from IP2IPO, an intellectual property firm, and from the SULIS university seed-corn fund, which gives money to business opportunities arising from the universities of Bath, Bristol and Southampton.
Ilika combines the work of Mark Bradley, Brian Hayden, Mike Hursthouse and Samuel Guerin from Southampton University’s School of Chemistry (see photo). Graeme Purdy, CEO of Ilika and former chief operating officer at Avantium Technologies, told Chemistry World that the new company has three high-throughput R & D platforms. The first uses high-vacuum chemical vapour deposition to create thin films of inorganic materials, a project which has in the past received funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and which has seen much collaboration with companies such as those looking to develop fuel cells. The second platform is Polymer Discovery, which optimises novel polymers for pharmaceutical and medical applications. In the third research area, Ilika will use high-throughput X-ray diffraction to study inorganic materials and small molecules.
Ilika is currently based in the University of Southampton’s incubator facility, where Purdy envisages that it will remain for the next couple of years. The facility provides basic facilities, but much of the experimental equipment for the company is still based in the university chemistry laboratories. Ilika currently has a team of around 10 people, which includes four researchers.
IP2IPO has a 25-year deal with Southampton University to provide seed capital and resource in return for significant equity stakes in the university’s spin-out companies.