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CDT swoops on Opsys

31 Oct 2002

Consolidation in the organic LED arena is hotting up as Cambridge Display Technology acquires its UK rival Opsys.

Organic LED (OLED) pioneer Cambridge Display Technology (CDT) has acquired the UK operations of rival company Opsys. CDT will receive Opsys' dendrimer OLED technology and patents, as well as its Oxford facilities and 25 staff. Opsys shareholders will come out with about a 10% stake in CDT.

Opsys' US operations, including a 4000 m2 prototyping plant making small-molecule OLEDs under license from Kodak, are not included in the deal. Opsys US will also retain privileged rights to use dendrimers and other technologies developed by Opsys in the UK.

According to Opsys chief executive, Michael Holmes, his company will retain an "observer" on the CDT board, but that the company in the States would be concentrating on small-molecule and other non-dendrimer technologies.

"While we believe that merging the management and commercial aspects of our dendrimer technology with CDT is the best course of action for our UK business, our US operation has excellent prospects as an independent business," said Holmes. "It is now prototyping and sampling some of the most impressive, long-lived OLED display prototypes in the world."

The takeover is part of CDT's strategy of consolidating intellectual property in the polymer OLED field and then licensing materials and techniques to third parties without discrimination. Both CDT's polymer technology and Opsys' dendrimer technology are solution-based processes, suitable for inkjet printing.

Holmes told Optics.org that he did not believe that CDT would simply shelve dendrimers as a way of rationalizing the market to concentrate on its own more developed polymer technologies. "Dendrimers have many advantages over polymer," he said. "They could form second-generation technology which might combine dendrimer and polymer."

The acquistion brings together research carried out at two of the UK's most famous universities. CDT was spun out of Cambridge in 1992; Opsys from Oxford in 1997.

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