Generics forges European alliances

Technology consulting and investment group Generics has signed collaboration agreements with German electronics giant Siemens and a Dutch technology institute, TNO.

Technology consulting and investment group Generics has signed collaboration agreements with German electronics giant Siemens and a Dutch technology institute, TNO, in a move to speed up the creation of Generics’ start-up businesses. Further tie-ups with other major European research groups are also under discussion.

The link with Siemens follows a similar agreement early last year with BT, which created the BrightStar operation to ‘incubate’ high-technology spin-off companies.

Technology companies are increasingly looking for ways to exploit their R&D departments’ intellectual property — rather than see those responsible for the ideas leave and attempt to start up companies on their own.

The deal with TNO is the first with a major European research body, and will focus on healthcare technologies. Generics may also target other organisations, such as the German Fraunhofer technology research institutes, many of which specialise in engineering. It is also working with consultant AT Kearney in a project to boost innovation within Italian companies.

‘TNO and Siemens own a substantial number of patents and these agreements will speed up the rate at which we bring new companies to market,’ Generics chief executive Gordon Edge said.

Generics will tweak patented ideas into something with a commercial future, and may invest in the fledgling companies spun out of Siemens and TNO.

Generics’ first quarter results for 2001, out this week, showed a rise in pre-tax loss of £2.5m, (spending on R&D is written off as a loss in the accounts). Turnover for the quarter was £3.4m, little changed from a year ago, the bulk of income coming from consulting work.

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