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10 July 2008 PR 08/108

Second University spin out created under IPSO Agreement

IPSO Ventures plc, the intellectual property commercialisation specialist, has today announced its wholly owned subsidiary Ipso Management Limited (IPSO) has created and invested in its second spin out company, Polyfect Solutions Limited, under its Framework Agreement with Loughborough University.

Polyfect, a spin out from the Institute of Polymer Technology and Materials Engineering, has technology that demonstrates the ability both to reduce the cost of manufacturing plastic products and improve the quality of the plastic from which they are made.

The technology achieves savings and quality improvements through the highly efficient incorporation of functional fillers into plastics. Functional fillers are the materials which are used to change the properties of a plastic, for example, to make it non-static, to create gas barriers or change its pigmentation. Conventional processes for incorporating functional fillers in plastics achieve far from optimal results with a significant proportion of the material being poorly dispersed. This necessitates the use of large quantities of filler to achieve the desired properties. The fillers are typically more expensive than the virgin plastic and also degrade the mechanical properties of the plastic. Polyfect’s technology allows significantly less filler to be used, resulting in both cost savings and quality improvements as well as having a positive environmental benefit. The process allows for a significant reduction in fillers such as carbon black. Polyfect’s technology also improves filler dispersion within plastics by up to around 10 times that of conventional processes.

Polyfect’s technology has the potential to enable the mass production of:

IPSO is investing up to £400,000 in two tranches. The Lachesis Fund, the University Challenge Fund for the East Midlands, is also involved in this transaction.

Polyfect will license this technology to operators in the plastics’ supply chain for integration into their existing processes. Capital expenditure and running costs of using this technology are low whilst the potential material cost savings are high, making it profitable for licensees with a short payback time. Initial feedback from potential licensees on the technology has been very positive and IPSO believes that this business model should quickly generate high-margin royalty revenues for Polyfect. Initially, during scale-up, Polyfect will seek to work with a limited number of organisations that recognise the potential of the technology for their applications and wish to be amongst the first to realise its benefits.

Simon Hunt, Executive Chairman of IPSO, said: “We are very pleased to have created our second spin-out company under our agreement with Loughborough. We have assembled a strong team to take Polyfect forward and have appointed Ian Balchin as Interim CEO. Ian has over 20 years experience commercialising a wide range of technologies, including polymer related technologies. Amongst other achievements, he presided over a period of rapid growth during his time as president of Biotec Holdings GmbH, one of the largest manufacturers of biopolymers in Europe.

We are also very pleased to have co-invested with the Lachesis fund.”
Shirley Pearce, Vice-Chancellor, Loughborough University, added: “We are really excited about IPSO’s second Loughborough spin out resulting from our partnership. We believe this is a further excellent example of how Loughborough enterprise can be translated by the right commercialisation partner from raw technology to the commercial market place.”

Ian Balchin, CEO of Polyfect said, “Polyfect’s technology has the potential to create significant savings for polymer processors through reduced filler costs, light-weighting of components and the creation of new polymer materials without having to use chemical processing to ensure good dispersion of fillers. In particular, at a time when high oil prices are impacting on polymer feedstock prices, Polyfect’s technology should be welcomed as a way of reducing manufacturing costs and environmental impact. My initial focus will be on scaling up the technology and engaging with a select number of organisations that recognise its potential and wish to be amongst the first to realise its benefits.”


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Notes to editors:

  1. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

    It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

    Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

    In the 2007 National Student Survey, the University was voted fourth in the UK, with 23 out of 29 of Loughborough’s subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. Loughborough is also ranked in the top fifteen of UK universities in national league tables. It was named winner of the 2006 and 2007 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other university.

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