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Tech transfer office body appoints Abingworth MD as chair

Image credit: aslysun / Shutterstock

TenU, the collaborative body for university tech transfer offices, has appointed Tim Haines, managing director of investment firm Abingworth as its chair.

TenU represents the interests of 10 global university transfer offices, including Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial College London and UCL. Tech transfer offices are responsible for the commercialisation of university research, resulting in spinout companies.

The group was heavily supportive of the government-commissioned review into spinout companies last November. The review recommended a benchmark for the amount of equity a university takes in the startups founded within it.

The report also encouraged greater collaboration between tech transfer offices.

Incoming chair Haines said he has been “hugely impressed with the work that TenU has done so far” and, following the release of the spinout review, said the next step is “to unlock capital to enable these companies to achieve scale and global impact”.

“Through working on the USIT Guide last year, I saw first-hand the value of strong collaboration between leading institutions, venture capitalists and legal specialists,” Haines added.

“I hope to see the spring budget 2024 announce further measures to channel investment into the incredible innovation emerging from our universities.”

Haines has spent the past 18 years as a partner at Abingworth, a life science-focused investment firm with a portfolio worth more than $300m. The firm last year led a £105m funding round for biotech firm Ascend Gene and Cell Therapies.

Haines has also held executive roles across the pharmaceutical and tech industries.

Outgoing TenU chair Prof Andy Neely said: “It has been a privilege to witness the evolution of TenU from its origination as a programme grant to a key stakeholder in the international effort to enhance the process of research commercialisation.

“I look forward to seeing Tim and the excellent team at TenU build on our learnings and continue efforts to maximise the societal impact of university research.”

Read more: A guide to university spinouts