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Imperial Innovations Appoints MD

UK technology commercialisation and investment company Imperial Innovations is to appoint Nigel Pitchford as managing director of healthcare investments. The appointment will take effect from 4 January 2012. Pitchford joins in this non-Board role from DFJ Esprit, where as a partner he has been responsible for leading healthcare investment activities across Europe.

Imperial Innovations Group plc (AIM: IVO, “Innovations”, or “the Group), the UK’s leading technology commercialisation and investment company, will appoint Nigel Pitchford as Managing Director of Healthcare Investments with effect from 4 January 2012.

Nigel is a highly experienced healthcare venture investor with a strong track record of creating and realising value. He joins Innovations in this non-Board role from DFJ Esprit, where as a partner he has been responsible for leading their healthcare activities across Europe.

Prior to that, Nigel worked at 3i for 12 years, becoming a Partner in 2006 and ultimately leading their venture healthcare activities across Europe and the US. In 2009 DFJ Esprit acquired 3i’s European Venture portfolio.

Nigel helped to create and build successful companies across most healthcare sectors and has particular expertise in developing US commercial strategies for technology-rich European companies. The most recent example of this being his leading role in the start-up, investment and ultimately successful exit of Apatech (sold to Baxter for $330m in 2010).

Other deals where he has played a leading role in investing and working with management teams to create and realise significant value include Domantis sold to GSK for $423m in 2006 and Arakis sold to Sosei Pharma for $187m in 2005.

Having been based in Cambridge since 2001 Nigel has strong links to the local life science and medical community, including investments into successful companies such as Horizon Discovery, Domantis and Arakis. Innovations will seek to leverage Nigel’s established relationships to grow materially its presence and investment activities within the Cambridge area.

Nigel studied chemistry at the University of Oxford, before completing a PhD at the University of Durham. He also has an MBA from Warwick Business School.

Susan Searle, Imperial Innovations’ CEO, said:

“The recruitment of Nigel to head up our healthcare investments is a key addition to the senior team. His proven investment judgement, track record and sector expertise will be invaluable to the Group as will be his familiarity and network in the Cambridge innovation community.”

Nigel Pitchford, said:

“I am pleased to be joining the Company at such an exciting time following the fund raising and expansion of the business. Innovations has the ability to invest in technology-rich companies at all funding stages from seed to growth. With this we intend to build, alongside our partners in Cambridge, Oxford and London, the next generation of leading UK life science businesses. I look forward to working closely with all those entrepreneurs, scientists, investors and colleagues who share this ambition, toward achieving that goal.”


Imperial Innovations
020 7594 6589
Susan Searle, Chief Executive Officer

Diana Crisp, PR Manager

College Hill
020 7457 2020
Adrian Duffield/Rozi Morris/Tim Watson

J.P. Morgan Cazenove
020 7588 2828
Michael Wentworth-Stanley/Paul Park

Notes to editors


Innovations creates, builds and invests in pioneering university technologies addressing global problems in healthcare, energy, engineering and the environment. It combines deep understanding of science and technology with commercial acumen and strong investment expertise.

Innovations supports scientist-entrepreneurs in the commercialisation of their ideas by:

leading the formation of new companies and providing facilities in the early stages
providing significant investment and encouraging co-investment to accelerate the transition from R&D to products
providing operational expertise
helping to recruit high-calibre industry figures and experienced entrepreneurs as executive management and Board members

The Group invests in companies based on technologies from or associated with four universities: Imperial College London; and the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford, and University College London supported by its collaborations with Cambridge Enterprise, OSEM and UCL Business. Those are the UK’s leading research intensive universities, measured by research income.

By raising 140 million pounds in January 2011, the Group has been able to accelerate the making of, and increase the size of its investments. In the year to 31 July 2011, Innovations invested 35.1 million pounds (2010: 14 million pounds) in 23 ventures, and launched six new companies.

In its current portfolio of 78 companies, Innovations’ most advanced assets include Circassia, which develops innovative vaccines for the treatment of a wide range of allergies; and Nexeon, a battery materials and licensing company which develops silicon anodes which extend the life and increase the capacity of lithium-ion batteries.