UKI2S expands fund by £37 million to speed up British innovation

The UK Innovation and Science Seed Fund (UKI2S ) has expanded its patient capital fund by £37 million. The early-stage investment fund will support the most ambitious UK-based innovators at seed and beyond to facilitate sustainable growth, enhance the health and security of society and deliver economic gains.

The fund is backed by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) and other public bodies.

The expansion of the fund builds on UKI2S’s track-record in nurturing early-stage firms furthering science and innovation in the country. The new funding will enable UKI2S to initiate and expand investment in domains, including synthetic biology, knowledge assets, fusion energy, defence and security.

Companies backed by the fund include Cobalt Light Systems (innovative technologies for non-invasive chemical analysis spun out of STFC and sold to Agilent), Tokamak Energy (a leading global commercial fusion energy company spun out of UKAEA Culham), Quethera (exploiting synthetic biology for gene therapy, sold to Astellas) and Crescendo Biologics (a clinical stage immune-oncology company based on research carried out at the Babraham Institute).

Andrew Muir, investment director at Future Planet Capital and fund principal for UKI2S, said: “The fund has a strong track record of generating impact from publicly funded science and research hubs across the U.K. The fund’s expansion will help drive innovation with our partners, across research campuses and from synthetic biology industry, in addition to accelerating the development of high growth potential businesses in defence and security, fusion and exploiting the UK’s knowledge assets.”

Liz Kirby, director of innovation at the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), said: “I am delighted to announce the expansion of UKI2S as we boost investment in the U.K.’s most disruptive early-stage companies that are leading the way in finding solutions to the problems that we face across society.”