Syncona cornerstones £100m financing in Achilles
Syncona cornerstones £100 million financing in Achilles
03 September 2019
· Syncona is the largest investor in £100m Series B financing in Achilles committing £35.1million, with the remainder raised from specialist global institutional investors
· Syncona's holding in Achilles written up by £23.4 million (3.5p per share); 91.4 per cent uplift to the holding value of £25.6 million
· Syncona holding value following first tranche investment of £72.4 million; on drawdown of the full Series B financing Syncona's ownership stake in the business will be 44 per cent
Syncona Ltd, a leading healthcare company focused on founding, building and funding global leaders in life science, today announces that it has committed £35.1 million to Achilles Therapeutics ("Achilles"), a biopharmaceutical company developing personalised cancer immunotherapies, in an oversubscribed £100 million Series B financing. Specialist global institutional investors including RA Capital, Forbion, Invus, Perceptive Advisors and Redmile Group, amongst others, also participated in the financing, which resulted in a £23.4 million uplift (3.5p per Syncona share) to Syncona's holding value of Achilles. Including the drawdown of the first tranche of Syncona's Series B investment (£23.4 million), Syncona's holding value of Achilles is now £72.4 million. On drawdown of the full Series B financing, Syncona's ownership stake in Achilles will be 44 per cent (previously 69 per cent).
Achilles is developing personalised T-cell therapies for solid tumours targeting clonal neoantigens; protein markers unique to each patient that are present on the surface of all cancer cells. Achilles uses DNA sequencing data, together with a proprietary bioinformatics platform, to identify clonal neoantigens specific to the patient. By targeting multiple clonal neoantigens that are present on all cancer cells, but not on healthy cells, Achilles is seeking to deliver individualised treatments to target and destroy tumours without harming healthy tissues.
The Series B financing brings Achilles' total committed funding to £128.3 million to date. Proceeds from the financing are expected to enable the business to deliver two human proof-of-concept studies in Achilles' first two programmes in non-small cell lung cancer and melanoma. There are 228,150 patients newly diagnosed with lung cancer in the US each year and 96,480 patients diagnosed with melanoma. The company expects its first two programmes to enter the clinic this year. In addition, the financing will enable Achilles to continue building out its manufacturing capabilities as well as broaden its growing solid tumour pre-clinical product pipeline.
Martin Murphy, CEO of Syncona Investment Management Limited, said: "In 2016, we saw an opportunity to work with world-leading experts to found a company harnessing unique insight into the understanding of cancer evolution, bioinformatics and the development of cell-based immunotherapies to target the treatment of solid tumours. We are delighted with the strong progress Achilles has made over the last three years and are excited about its potential.
There is a significant opportunity for the business to develop its next generation approach to bring innovative therapies to patients in areas of high unmet need. We believe in maximising our companies ambitions to take products to market and we are committed to supporting Achilles over the long-term as it continues to scale."
Dr Iraj Ali, CEO of Achilles Therapeutics, said: "Achilles is leading the next wave of immuno-oncology drug development. We have moved from concept to clinic-ready in less than three years. We are extremely pleased to welcome this excellent group of new investors to Achilles and I would like to personally thank our existing founding investors for their continued support. With this fundraising we have made a clear statement about the scale and nature of our ambitions to bring novel cancer therapies rapidly to patients with a high unmet medical need."
Siobhan Weaver / Annabel Clay
Tel: +44 (0) 20 3981 7940
Brett Pollard / Ben Atwell / Natalie Garland-Collins
Tel: +44 (0) 20 3727 1000
Copies of this press release and other corporate information can be found on the company website at: www.synconaltd.com
Forward-looking statements - this announcement contains certain forward-looking statements with respect to the portfolio of investments of Syncona Limited. These statements and forecasts involve risk and uncertainty because they relate to events and depend upon circumstances that may or may not occur in the future. There are a number of factors that could cause actual results or developments to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. In particular, many companies in the Syncona Limited portfolio are conducting scientific research and clinical trials where the outcome is inherently uncertain and there is significant risk of negative results or adverse events arising. In addition, many companies in the Syncona Limited portfolio have yet to commercialise a product and their ability to do so may be affected by operational, commercial and other risks.
Syncona is a leading FTSE250 healthcare company focused on founding, building and funding global leaders in life science. Our vision is to deliver transformational treatments to patients in truly innovative areas of healthcare while generating superior returns for shareholders.
We seek to partner with the best, brightest and most ambitious minds in science to build globally competitive businesses.
We take a long-term view, underpinned by a deep pool of capital, and are established leaders in gene and cell therapy. We focus on delivering dramatic efficacy for patients in areas of high unmet need.
Achilles Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company developing personalised T cell therapies targeting clonal neoantigens: protein markers unique to the individual that are expressed on the surface of every cancer cell. Achilles uses DNA sequencing data from each patient, together with the proprietary PELEUS™ bioinformatics platform, to identify clonal neoantigens specific to that patient, and then develop personalised T cell-based therapies specifically targeting those clonal neoantigens.
Achilles was founded by lead investor Syncona Ltd and its shareholders include the CRT Pioneer Fund, UCL Technology Fund, Cancer Research Technology, with the support of UCL Business (UCLB) and the Francis Crick Institute. For further information please visit the Company's website at: www.achillestx.com.
 As at 30 June 2019
 Percentage holding reflects Syncona's ownership stake at the point full current commitments are invested on a fully-diluted basis.
 https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/lungb.html; non-small cell lung accounts for an estimated c.85% of all lung cancers (https://www.cancer.org/cancer/small-cell-lung-cancer/about/key-statistics.html)
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