Temasek invests in Oxford University fund

The $180bn Singapore state investment company has participated in the $289m funding round of the Oxford Sciences Innovation Fund.

Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings has made a commitment in the latest round of fundraising for Oxford University’s science and technology fund, Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI) Fund, which develops and commercialises intellectual properties of university researchers.

A spokesperson from Temasek has confirmed the investment with Private Equity International, but declined to comment on the size of the commitment.

The £230 million ($289 million; €273 million) funding round was mainly backed by Asian investors including technology investors as well as the Oman Investment Fund, according to a report from the Financial Times.

“Raising this capital reflects our confidence in the breadth and quality of opportunity available to investors in helping the University of Oxford develop a world-class commercial ecosystem around its unmatched intellectual capital and heritage,” OSI chairman Peter Davies said in a statement: “We are also very excited to be working with new shareholders from across the world, notably from Asia and Continental Europe, and grateful to our original supporters, the ten largest of which have participated in this funding round.”

The OSI Fund was launched in early 2015 to fund the next generation of spinout companies from the university’s mathematical, physical, life sciences and medical sciences divisions.

In an earlier statement, OSI said it would raise an initial £300 million, with £210 million already committed by six cornerstone investors: Invesco Asset Management Limited, IP Group, Lansdowne Partners (UK), Oxford University Endowment Fund, the Wellcome Trust and Woodford Investment Management. Its individual investors include the entrepreneur Sir Charles Dunstone and artificial intelligence pioneer Demis Hassabis of Google Deep Mind.

With the latest funding round, the fund is now close to £600 million, making it the largest private university fund in the UK, the University of Oxford said in a separate statement.

The fund has backed more than 20 start-ups including fluorescence microscopy developer Oxford Nanoimaging, vaccine company Vaccitech and precision engineered products company Oxford Flow.

Temasek, which has S$242 billion ($180 billion; €158 billion) of assets as of 31 March 2016, is looking to reshape its portfolio after posting a 9 percent drop in the value of its assets over the past year.