Championing innovation and growth: Penningtons Manches leads the way in Oxford

The Oxford office of leading law firm Penningtons Manches supports some of the area’s most dynamic businesses and institutions through its specialist teams. With 14 partners and a total staff of nearly 100 at its base in Oxford Business Park, the firm’s multi-disciplinary approach concentrates on a variety of industry sectors relevant to the region including technology, life sciences, education and private wealth.

The firm has six UK offices, including London and Cambridge, and also has an international outlook thanks to its office in San Francisco, which plays a key role in connecting US West Coast businesses with investment, funding and growth opportunities in the ‘Golden Triangle’ of Oxford, Cambridge and London, and vice versa.

In addition, with renewed discussion around further infrastructure development to strengthen the Oxford-Cambridge corridor, Penningtons Manches is well placed to support the challenges and opportunities relating to further growth of the high-tech manufacturing and research industries. The firm also has a strong dispute and regulatory team which supports these industries.

The technology team has a long established expertise in life sciences, led by partner Chris Shelley, and is increasingly synonymous with the commercial ‘spinning out’ of research and development work from Oxford University. The corporate practice has advised on many technology transactions including Oxford Gene Technology on its acquisition by global diagnostics company Sysmex, and artificial intelligence business Diffblue on its first significant round of venture capital funding.

The commercial property team has built on its experience in the life sciences and education sectors, acting for Oxford Nanopore, one of the most successful multi-national life sciences businesses in the region, in relation to its new production facility at Harwell Science and Innovation Campus.

The firm’s strong links to Oxford University also extend to providing general employment advice to the colleges, training to trustees and advice on student accommodation and property development.

At the end of 2017, the firm launched an in-depth report on the funding of UK university spinouts that revealed those from Oxford University had attracted the most equity investment.

A second major report examining inward investment from Silicon Valley into the UK’s tech ‘Golden Triangle’ of Oxford, Cambridge and London, has recently received significant attention in the market including a lively panel debate held at the Ashmolean museum where entrepreneurs, fast-growing tech firms and leading venture capital investors shared their views. The event was chaired by tech partner Nicola McConville, who is a prominent figure in the region, with strong links to Oxford University Innovation, the TechTonic networking group and the annual VentureFest conference.

The firm’s charities team is also based out of the Oxford office and has experienced very impressive growth. Led by partner Alison Talbot, the team has particular expertise in crisis management work, advising on a number of complex and high profile cases. Earlier this spring, the team hosted an innovative conference on charitable legacies that attracted high level representatives from the UK’s largest charities and prominent government policy advisers.

Penningtons Manches’ leading private wealth teams (comprised of family, immigration, trusts, estates and probate specialists) look after the personal affairs of the area’s high net worth individuals, a large number of whom come from entrepreneurial, professional and international backgrounds.

Golden opportunity

These are exciting times for the technology industry. Whether you’re in Oxford or Oakland, innovation clusters across the globe are nurturing ground-breaking technologies and creating world-leading businesses.

We’re delighted to present a new research report, From the Golden Gate to the Golden Triangle, which reveals that unprecedented levels of capital are flowing into British software companies from Silicon Valley – with investment reaching £1 billion and businesses in the Golden Triangle of Oxford, Cambridge and London taking the lion’s share.

To read the full report or to find out more about our dedicated technology team, visit: or call us on 01865 722 106.

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