Electronics manufacturer Marconi is to provide the muscle for a £30m joint venture to exploit the results of genetic research, the company announced yesterday.
Marconi will add brawn in the form of massive computing power to the brains of biotech company Oxford GlycoSciences, forming a new company named Confirmant that will market and sell access to OGS’s genetic database, in the continuing search for connections between disease and human proteins.
The partners – which will each provide £15m in start-up cash – expect the new company to generate revenue of up to £22.5m over a three-year period once it opens its doors early next year, employing about 30 staff.
Marconi also plans to take an equity stake worth £10m in new shares in OGS, giving it a 1.5% ownership of the former Oxford University spin-off at £15.50 a share.
Curt Hopkins, who heads Marconi’s managed services division, said his organisation was providing the joint venture with the cash, information technology and broadband telecommunications ability to allow others to utilise OGS’s database.
The huge amount of computing capacity is required to sequence the permutations of proteins and identify their place within the human body.
Likely clients for the new company include pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies seeking to identify hu man proteins in drug research. Mr Hopkins said he was confident that potential customers would be willing to pay “lots and lots of money to get access to that database”.
The announcement of the tie-up is likely to provide a boost to OGS’s share price, which has languished in recent months along with much of the once fashionable biotech sector. Yesterday, OGS shares jumped by 27.5p to close at £11.07.