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Durham University

Research and Innovation Services

Spinout Companies

The University encourages and supports the commercialisation of research for the benefit of society and the wider economy. The research commercialisation team works with academic researchers and early stage investors to set up companies to commercialise the results of their research. Over time the University has set up a portfolio of companies where the University may or may not retain an equity stake. If you would like to know more about current opportunities please get in touch.

Spin-out firm launched with £150,000 investment

Our academics in the Department of Biosciences and Department of Physics have received £150,000 as part of a new business venture in ageing research.

Magnitude Biosciences Limited, a spin-out company from the University, will assist the ageing research industry and academic researchers in testing compounds, such as food additives and drugs, to understand how they impact the ageing process.

Tackling research challenges

Carrying out ageing research can be challenging because large sample sizes are required to capture variability in ageing, with the process taking many years to yield results.

To tackle this, Magnitude Biosciences will test on nematode worms, called C.elegans, which are tubular-like organisms just about visible to the human eye without magnification.

They are an established method in ageing research due to their short lifespan (two to three weeks) and their size, which allows large quantities to be tested over relatively short periods of time.

The company has developed an innovative ‘healthspan machine’, which uses small, low cost computers linked to cameras to monitor large numbers of nematodes under multiple conditions.

Northern Accelerator

Magnitude Bioscience’s Chief Operating Officer’s post has been funded by the Northern Accelerator programme, a partnership between Durham, Sunderland, Newcastle and Northumbria universities which aims to commercialise academic research, developing entrepreneurship amongst university academics.

The Northern Accelerator programme focuses on advanced manufacturing, the chemicals and process sector, life sciences and healthcare, and digital industries across the North East region.

Find out more

  • Take a look at studying Biosciences or Physics at Durham
  • Read about Dr David Weinkove, founder Magnitude Biosciences
  • View Magnitude Bioscience’s website
  • Magnitude Biosciences has received investment from Saker Capital and the North East Innovation Fund, supported by the European Regional Development Fund and managed by Northstar Ventures.

Other Spinout Companies

Geoptic Ltd.

The four joint founders of Geoptic Ltd are; Durham’s Professor Jon Gluyas, St Mary’s Dr Chris Steer, and, Sheffield’s Professor Lee Thompson and Dr Patrick Stowell. The company has combined the founders expertise in Earth Science and Physics to create a business that can survey railway tunnels more effectively than current methods. The technique uses naturally occurring cosmic ray muons to see through many tens of metres of soil and rock in order to identify regions of anomalous density.

Geoptic won the 2020 Institute of Physics Business Start-up Award.

Pepmotec Ltd.

Pepmotec was spun out of the Chemistry Department in 2019 and offers a custom synthesis service to the life sciences and pharmaceutical sectors. Using a novel, patented platform for protein and peptide modification, Pepmotec provides a fast and efficient service with enhanced flexibility over traditional modification technologies.


Founded in 2018, MammalWeb is a not-for-profit partnership between Durham University and Durham Wildlife Trust. It has developed a platform to engage volunteers in the routine monitoring of mammals. Volunteers deploy passive infrared camera traps in the environment to capture images of passing wildlife (principally mammals). They then upload the images and associated metadata to MammalWeb where they, and others, can classify the animals pictured. Using this platform, new constituencies of citizen scientists and conservationists will be targeted, who can contribute for mutual benefit.

Mammalweb were recently featured in a Guardian article on citizen science (28 July 2019), showing the diversity of animals captured on camera traps.

Lightox Limited

Lightox was founded in 2016 to commercialise research developed jointly by Durham’s Departments of Chemistry and Biosciences, the University of York, and High Force Research Ltd. Lightox cell killing technology employs a novel science and technology-driven approach to the selective killing of animal, bacterial and fungal cells using targeted photodynamic therapy (PDT). The Lightox technology presents significant advantages over conventional therapeutic options for the elimination of dangerous cells and/or site and tissue selective surgery. By localizing both the photosensitizers (PS) and the light exposure to known primary and secondary tumour regions, the Lightox technology can both selectively and effectively eliminate tumour cells without significant disruption of surrounding non-cancerous tissues, preserving healthy local cells, and reducing both the aesthetic and functional impairments associated with existing treatment options including excision and chemo-radiation.

Lightox win Bionow Start up of the Year Award 2018: link

Intogral Limited

Intogral Limited was founded in 2016 and provides advanced image analysis using machine learning, computer graphics and GPU computing methods. Durham University owns shares in the company.

Applied Graphene Materials plc

Founded by Professor Karl Coleman, Head of Durham University’s Department of Chemistry, Applied Graphene Materials plc (AGM) operates a novel Graphene production method. Professor Coleman invented the new method and remains on the Board of the company, which also develops formulation methods for nanotechnology. AGM employs nearly 50 people at its HQ in the Wilton Centre, Redcar, on Teesside. In addition to AGM’s large-scale graphene production capability, the company also has wider materials’ expertise that helps customers incorporate graphene into new products.

Kromek plc

Kromek was founded in 2003 to commercialise technology developed by Durham University’s Physics Department and has Headquarters at NETPark, Sedgefield Co. Durham. Their vision is to be the world-leading provider of multispectral radiation detection products operating in the Medical Imaging, Nuclear Detection and Security Screening markets. Kromek was admitted to the London Stock Market AIM listing in October 2013.

P2I Ltd

P2i is a world leader in liquid repellent nano-coating technology with headquarters in Oxford. In July 2010, it acquired Surface Innovations Ltd, (a spinout from Durham University’s Chemistry Department). Durham University owns shares in P2i Ltd.

FScan Ltd

FScan span out of Durham University’s Chemistry Department in 2008. It focuses on the development of commercial applications of its luminescent lanthanide chemistry technology platform.

ReproCELL Europe Ltd (Reinnervate)

Reinnervate Ltd

Reinnervate was founded in 2002 to commercialise research from Durham’s Department of Biosciences. It specialises in the development of enabling technologies for research into cell growth and function. It develops novel approaches to monitor and control cell differentiation with distinct applications in stem cell biology. Reinnervate was aquired by ReproCELL in 2014 and was merged with Biopta to form ReproCELL Europe Ltd in July 2016. Reinnervate’s core strength was in its Alvetex® family of 3D cell culture products, providing a flexible platform that allows scientists in any life science laboratory to easily establish improved in vitro assays and tissue models that better mimic the in vivo growth of cells. Alvetex continues to be developed, produced and distributed by ReproCELL Europe.

OlexSys Ltd

OlexSys span out from Durham’s Department of Chemistry in 2010. It maintains and enhances the open source Olex2 software for the solution, analysis of crystal structures. OlexSys offers specialist training in chemical crystallography and other services for small-molecule crystal structure determination.

Concept Analyst Ltd

Concept Analyst is a spin out from Durham’s School of Engineering and Computing Science. Formed in 2001 it owns specialist stress analysis software and develops new applications. It is used for traditional analysis problems and as a teaching tool.

Durham Magneto Optics Ltd

Span out in 2002 from the Physics Department, DMO specialises in the supply of advanced scientific equipment for research and development and magneto-optical magnetometers for magnetic nanotechnology. Applications include magnetic thin films, nanostructures and tunnel junctions, MRAM, hard disk read / write heads and spintronic devices.

Geospatial Research Ltd

Formed in 2004, Geospatial Research specialises in digital mapping and survey, and application of geospatial technologies in petroleum and mineral exploration. It uses pioneering methods to construct high-precision virtual outcrop models serving as detailed analogues for sub-surface reservoir rocks.

Goliath Wind OU

Goliath Wind is an Estonian company formed in 2008. Durham University acquired shares in exchange for technology from the Engineering Department. It has developed a gearbox-free wind turbine.

Gamble De Grussa Ltd

GdeG was established in 2004 to research and develop a transparent patch applied to skin. Entitled the “Sun Patch” this product filters UV light thus protecting vulnerable areas. Durham owns shares in GdeG.

Part of the P2i group of companies

Surface Innovations Ltd

This Company span out from the Chemistry Department in 2001 designing functional nanocoatings for surface properties. In 2010 it was sold to P2I ltd.

Geoenergy Durham

Geoenergy Durham Ltd span out in 2010. It’s a consultancy company offering bespoke services to the geoenergy sector in the emerging themes of carbon capture and storage, unconventional hydrocarbons, clean coal and geothermal energy.

Northern Accelerator
Support available for experienced CEOs to join us at the pre-commercial stage of business
A Newcastle University and Durham University joint project part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.


Research Commercialisation Team Contacts

Michael Bath
Technology Transfer Manager

Dr Heather Allinson
Technology Transfer Manager

Dr Naomi Willis
Technology Transfer Manager

Dr Tim Hammond
Director of Commercialisation & Economic Development