British on hunt for technology firms

01:15, Feb 17 2010
terry-pollard
ON LOOKOUT: Terry Pollard is visiting New Zealand from Oxford University in Britain.

Global alliances are being forged in the world of business development.

ISIS Innovation's senior consultant Terry Pollard is on a worldwide mission to find friends for the Oxford University-owned "technology transfer" company.

Similar to Palmerston North's Bio Commerce Centre, ISIS helps researchers commercialise their findings.

Established in 1987, ISIS is now behind five or six new companies starting up every year, although Mr Pollard said it preferred technology to be sold to firms established in the market place.

Before the existence of ISIS, a new company would start up about once every two years as a result of research at Oxford University. But entrepreneurs and inventors often lacked the skills or know-how to market what they had created or found, Mr Pollard said.

In the company's early existence, it had focused on developing firms in Oxford, but now worked from a global perspective. It had helped develop projects in many areas, including those involved with tidal power, chemistry and medical devices and vaccines. It would not work with the tobacco or armaments industries.

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"We try to bring technology to society," Mr Pollard said.

The company was not around to make a profit, either. Oxford University gave it about 2.5 million (NZ$5.58m) a year for developing patents – the returns from which go back to the university.

Mr Pollard's time in New Zealand had been spent trying to "build partnerships" with universities here.

Developing markets for New Zealand-based firms could be an issue because of this country's geographical location, he said. But New Zealand had an advantage when it came to exporting to South America.

Mr Pollard has a background in business consultancy and has an MBA from London's Imperial College.

Manawatu Standard