King's College London is celebrating a £1 million windfall after floating a spin-off company for the first time.
Proximagen, which was set up in 2003, is the brainchild of Peter Jenner , professor of pharmacology. It is based on 25 years of his research into treatments for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
With life expectancy rising, the proportion of the world's population aged over 60 is forecast to double by 2050, suggesting a linked increase in age-related and neurodegenerative diseases.
This made Proximagen an attractive prospect when it floated on the Alternative Investment Market last week. It raised £13.5 million.
King's chose to sell £1 million of its shares. Overall, the company's market value is almost £30 million. King's and Professor Jenner each retain about a tenth of the company's shares.
Professor Jenner said: "The flotation is very exciting. The proceeds will be directed towards programmes that we believe will make important inroads into treating these debilitating diseases."
Proximagen is to develop its own pipeline of compounds while also working on potential drugs licensed from other pharmaceutical companies. It also hopes to continue collaborating with major pharmaceutical and smaller biotech companies.
King's said it would invest its £1 million in innovation and commercialisation activities.
The flotation is the first high-profile project under the college's partnership with university commercialisation company IP2IPO.