Power Resources Group has bought University of Cambridge-founded metal power producer Metalysis, which had plunged into administration last month.

Metalysis, a UK-based metal powder producer exploiting research from University of Cambridge, has been acquired by mining firm Power Resources Group (PRG) for an undisclosed sum, Reuters reported on Friday.

The purchase provides exits to investors including Woodford Investment Management, which had reportedly supplied about $2m in funding.

Metalysis entered administration in June 2019, at roughly the same time Woodford suspended its flagship Equity Income Fund.

Founded in 2001, Metalysis has created a solid-state processing method for producing powders of metals and alloys, with a focus on applications in aerospace, automotive, electronics and additive manufacturing.

The spinout exploits research conducted in 1997 by the team of Derek Fray, then professor of materials chemistry at University of Cambridge’s Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy.

Metalysis had commenced industrial-scale manufacturing when it entered administration and was on the verge of commerciality, Reuters said.

The company’s products include titanium, graphene and niobium, the latter of which is among the metals mined by PRG in Rwanda. PRG, which also owns a metal refinery in North Macedonia, reportedly believes the acquisition could be of strategic benefit to the UK.

Metalysis had contended with volatile prices for mineral inputs sourced from external markets, but will now be aligned with PRG’s existing mining and refining operations.

Prior to the acquisition, Metalysis had a commercial alliance in place with rare earth metal miner Mkango Resources, and had also signed a contract with the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, part of the UK’s Ministry of Defence.

Woodford Investment Management backed Metalysis’s $17m round in March 2018, investing alongside Interogo Treasury – the asset management arm of furniture retailer Inter Ikea’s parent company Interogo Foundation – as well as Draper Esprit, ETF Partners and Hercules Capital.

Interogo participated as an existing backer, though details of its earlier involvement have not been confirmed.

Metalysis had already procured $29m from investors including Woodford and mining firm Iluka Resources in 2016, adding to $20m injected by Iluka two years previously.

Sustainable environment investor ETF joined 3i, Chord Capital, Seven Spires and Cody Gate Ventures for Metalysis’s $7m round in 2009, after leading a $25.6m round two years before that featured 3i, QinetiQ, Seven Spires, Chord Capital and Cambridge Capital Group.

Metalysis’s other earlier investors include mining group BHP Billiton, which had entered an intellectual property and asset acquisition pact with the company in 2007.