Highest-ever number of university spinouts supported by Scottish Enterprise in 2022/23

Adrian Gillespie, Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise

SCOTTISH Enterprise (SE) has supported the highest-ever number of academic spin outs via its High Growth Spinout Program (HGSP), figures for the 2022-23 financial year reveal.

SE supports research teams to commercialise their innovative ideas and projects, transforming them into successful businesses. This facilitates the creation of homegrown high-value jobs and the development of new products and services for domestic and international markets, generating significant economic impact for Scotland.

33 research teams were supported in FY22/23, receiving a total of £2.06m SE grant funding. Within the same period 14 HGSP alumni companies saw continuing growth, leveraging a total of £35.5m private investment as well as undertaking £9m of R&D activities.

The projects came from research institutions including the universities of Strathclyde, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Heriot Watt, Edinburgh Napier and the West of Scotland, and the James Hutton Institute. SE also supported the creation of six brand new spinout companies, with four of these going on to receive tailored, wrap-around support to help accelerate their scaling journey.

Adrian Gillespie, Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise, said: “The HGSP supports brilliant academics to turn their ideas into commercial reality, creating high growth companies for the future. We are delighted that it has been a record year as spinouts are vital for Scotland’s economy, and our academic researchers play a pivotal role in tackling global challenges in areas such as climate change, energy and health.”

Innovation Minister Richard Lochhead said: “I congratulate Scottish Enterprise for such impressive results in ensuring through this programme that our world-leading universities have a clear pathway to market.

“Close working between government, industry and universities is central to the Scottish Government’s National Innovation Strategy to maximise our research potential and bring about new products and businesses which benefit society and our economy.

“We are committed to working with our universities to enhance the role they play. This is why the First Minister recently announced a ten-year Entrepreneurial Campus plan to strengthen global networks and support more university startup businesses.”

Specialty pharmaceutical company Fitabeo Therapeutics spun out from the University of Strathclyde in FY22/23. Founder and CEO Mallikarjun Chityala said: “The HGSP helped us access vital resources to develop our idea into a fully-fledged business plan, progress the development of our technology and build executive and advisory teams.

“We made significant progress in both technology and product developments, made further patent filings, signed contracts with two pharmaceutical companies and won a prestigious Scottish EDGE award. Joining SE’s High Growth Ventures portfolio has enabled international outreach and the achievement of significant milestones towards building a scalable business that will ultimately create high-quality jobs in Scotland.” 

Eye to the Future’s retinal imaging technology comes from a collaborative project by the universities of Edinburgh and Dundee. CEO and Co-Founder David Bowie said: “The continuation of support from all areas of SE – including HGV and Scottish Development International – has been fantastic and a real motivator for our rockstar team who see this as validation of what we’re doing as a business.

“As we continue to push boundaries in all aspects of our company, we always aim to be the best of the best and we can only achieve this thanks to the support we receive.” 

The six companies that spun out in FY22/23 (for detailed summaries see Notes to Editors) are:

In May this year Scottish Enterprise was also named the UK’s top investor in spinouts by number of deals in the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Spotlight on Spinouts report.

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