It was announced on 9 November 2023 that the Company had conditionally agreed to acquire the entire issued share capital of OXLiD for an aggregate consideration of up to approximately £4.2 million and that it had conditionally raised approximately £4.0 million (before expenses) through the Placing and Subscription at a price of 24 pence per share.
The Board believes the Acquisition of OXLiD will build on the recent strategic progress the Group has made and act as a further catalyst to establish the foundations for strategic partnerships with major supply chain and industry participants (upstream and downstream), providing a commercially attractive route to market for Gelion’s technology.
The Board views the key value drivers of OXLiD as being:
People – The OXLiD team consists of five highly experienced scientists with significant battery research experience including doctorate degrees from top UK universities. OXLiD has plans to expand the team further in the coming months to further accelerate progress.
Technology/IP – Five patent applications, an exclusive licence and an exclusive option over a further licence.
Facilities – Entrenched relationships with blue chip academic institutions (Oxford, Nottingham, UCL, Southampton) and access to the UK’s LiSTAR and Faraday Institution’s supported technological research network. The Faraday Institution is the UK’s premier research institute aiming to advance battery science and technology and is running a Lithium Sulfur Technology Accelerator (LiSTAR) program specifically focused on LiS battery technology.
Products – Capability to accelerate development and rate of testing and production of prototypes for research and commercial demonstrations utilising established relationships with partners such as Fraunhofer IWS in Germany.
Revenue – OXLiD has undrawn approved grant funding of approximately £0.8 million which will be available to the Company post-Acquisition as well as a relationship with Sanyo Trading, from which revenue was generated in FY22, which Gelion wishes to explore further.
UK/EEA LiS – The Acquisition will enable Gelion to establish a UK research and development hub providing closer proximity to potential European customers and strategic partners, with improved access to a wider pool of LiS focused universities and research institutions.
As part of the £1.9 million Faraday Battery Challenge project which it is currently, OXLiD recently demonstrated a new cathode material for semi solid-state Li-S technology with highly competitive discharge capacities above 1,500 mAh/g (compared with ~200 mAh/g typical for lithium-ion) and good cyclability. Since then, OXLiD has been focusing to increase the scale of production of the cathode material with the aim to test and demonstrate high energy pouch cell (industry standard cell format) prototypes early next year. OXLiD has also began work on developing a unique coating technology to increase the performance of lithium metal anodes.
Further, the Acquisition of OXLiD includes an IP portfolio (five patent applications) which the Board believe will increase the Group’s ability to exploit the Johnson Matthey and Oxis Energy IP portfolio accelerating the path to product validation and commercialisation in the rapidly emerging LiS market. OXLiD has filed five patent families in the last 24 months, to protect advancements in technology developments. In addition, OXLiD also has an exclusive option for a licence agreement with the University of Nottingham for the use of catalysts to increase charge/discharge rates and has been granted an exclusive development licence by the University of Oxford for the purpose of developing cutting edge research around increasing cycle life in lithium metal batteries.
Group will achieve a UK presence by establishing a lab at a top UK university and build on OXLiD’s relationships with LiSTAR (Lithium Sulfur Technology Accelerator) participants, which is one of the ten Faraday Institution projects aiming to place the UK at the forefront of battery development. OXLiD has already secured over £1.4 million in grant funding through the Faraday Battery Challenge and other programs and will further benefit from additional funding and knowledge sharing within the UK ecosystem.
The areas of technology that OXLiD has been developing complements the work that Gelion has been doing. The Company is progressing electrolytes that can support multiple anode chemistries and additives to control polysulphide shuttle (the main failure mechanism in traditional lithium-sulfur batteries), with lithium anode technology, catalysts, and improved cell designs coming from the Acquisition. The Group will leverage the partnership OXLiD has with a European cell manufacturer to continue to demonstrate the technology in the commercially relevant pouch cell formats throughout 2024.
The combination of these technologies and IP places Gelion in a strong position. The Group is protected by a solid IP moat underpinned by research conducted by sector scientists, as the Company strives toward its goal of achieving performance leadership in LiS coupled with cost effective chemistry, the completion of the Acquisition of OXLiD further seeks to enhance this position.
John Wood, CEO of Gelion, commented:
“The acquisition of OXLiD will significantly accelerate the development of Gelion’s LiS technology. Adrien Amigues and his team bring experience, progress and IP in many areas but importantly leap us forward in two very specific areas of our focus, namely advanced sulfur cathode material formulation and anode protection. This development will directly support us in our efforts to advance key partnership objectives and we are thrilled to welcome them into team Gelion.”
“Having a UK footprint also gives us direct reach into the UK and European markets, directly expanding our available paths to commercialisation and towards developing value for our shareholders. This transaction comes at an exciting time for Gelion as the need to make global transport, energy consumption and storage more sustainable is more prevalent than ever. LiS technology, once mastered and commercialised, has the potential to make a significant contribution with its high energy density, relative safety, low cost, and the abundance of sulfur. We believe the expanded Gelion/OXLiD technology portfolio and capabilities will resonate very strongly with our potential strategic partners providing excitement about the Group’s future as we develop the technology toward creating and establishing our target product set and supply chain positioning.”
“OXLiD’s entrenched relationships with blue chip academic institutions across the UK evidences the quality of the business and people behind it, and we are confident that this acquisition provides strong enhancement of the path to market for Gelion’s LiS technology.”
Dr Adrien Amigues, Founder and CEO of OXLiD, said:
“By joining Gelion, we will be capable of developing and commericalising LiS battery technology for the mass markets at a faster rate than previously possible. Together, we will develop a set of products that are more energy dense, cheaper to produce, made with less resource-intensive raw materials and are safer to operate than standard Lithium-ion cells.”
“We are very excited about joining the Company and look forward to benefiting from Gelion’s expertise and strong IP as the Group continues to develop at a rapid pace.”