(Nanowerk News) The University of Manchester announced that the acquisition, by Versarien plc, of 85% of the shares in its graphene subsidiary, 2-DTech Limited, has completed on May 1.
Start-up company 2-DTech offers a wide range of graphene services, from materials supply and characterisation work, through to consulting and proof-of-principle work on applications and processes.
It also has a proprietary interest in a number of projects including an environmentally-friendly method of producing high quality graphene sheets, which is a collaboration between the University, 2-DTech and Ulster University and is currently being scaled up.
The deal is a further step in creating Graphene City in Manchester, where the National Graphene Institute is set to open in less than a year’s time and where 150 academic scientists and engineers are currently working on graphene at the University.
Versarien will also set up an intellectual property and research collaboration with the University, initially investing some £300,000 in two projects, which will add to its own and to 2-DTech’s product range, in areas such as graphene composites.
Branson Belle, CTO of 2-DTech, welcomes the deal, saying: “We are very excited by this partnership. Versarien brings real-life experience in process scale-up and manufacturing to complement 2-DTech’s understanding of the nature and quality threshold requirements for various applications of graphene, which is a rare skill set. This will accelerate 2-DTech’s business success.”
Clive Rowland, CEO of the University’s Innovation Group (UMI3) said: “Our general model for technology transfer is to involve industrial participants as soon as we have developed a business proposition and gained some market recognition, in order to bring in relevant domain knowledge and marketing expertise, whether we do so through research collaborations, licensing, and/or start-up companies. This tailors our deal flow to the market and leads to quicker uptake by firms. Therefore I am delighted that we have been able to agree this arrangement with Versarien which takes 2-DTech to a new level and allows the University to share in the future success of the business by remaining a shareholder and also receiving a royalty on sales.
Given the origin and location of 2-DTech in Manchester, the home of graphene, it places the company at the heart of the developing landscape for graphene applications. The scope for opportunities for 2-DTech, in its new relationship with a forward thinking British engineering company like Versarien, offers the business potential to make a real mark in both graphene production and products and in other ‘two dimensional’ materials too.”
Mike Emmerich, CEO of New Economy Manchester, said: “It is very pleasing to see that 2-DTech will remain a Manchester-based company and be enhanced by the contribution that Versarien will make to its business growth. Manchester is a very business-friendly city and is committed to seeing it become the world’s leading cluster for graphene science, engineering and business. I am sure that 2-DTech has a successful future here.”