Syncona expands cell therapy portfolio
· Foundation of macrophage cell therapy company Resolution Therapeutics, as sole investor, with a £26.8 million commitment in a Series A financing; Syncona holding value of £1.8 million
· Co-led $110.0 million Series A financing for T-cell receptor company Neogene Therapeutics, with a $19.0 million commitment; first tranche of $15.2 million (£11.9 million) invested by Syncona (equal to current holding value)
14 September 2020
Syncona Ltd, a leading healthcare company focused on founding, building and funding a portfolio of global leaders in life science, announces the foundation of a new Syncona company, Resolution Therapeutics, and an investment in the Series A financing of Neogene Therapeutics.
Foundation of Resolution Therapeutics
Following a collaboration agreement with the University of Edinburgh in 2018, Resolution has been founded by Syncona as a cell therapy company investigating the use of macrophages for the treatment of patients with end stage liver disease. In pre-clinical studies, macrophages have been well-documented as key agents of wound and injury repair in the liver, amongst other organs, and there is a growing body of evidence suggesting their use as therapeutic agents to treat cirrhosis of the liver caused by chronic liver diseases (CLD). Liver disease is a major burden on society, with 1-2 million people diagnosed with compensated liver cirrhosis in the US and EU5 per year. Current treatments, including lifestyle changes in the first instance, do not actively repair the liver, relying on early diagnosis before the onset of cirrhosis to be effective. There is therefore a strong unmet need for a regenerative therapy for patients with end stage liver disease.
Syncona has founded Resolution with a £26.8 million commitment to a Series A financing, investing an initial first tranche of £0.4 million to fund the formation of the team and IP required to commence operations. The investment follows an earlier seed investment in 2018 of £1.4 million which funded discovery work in the laboratory of Professor Stuart Forbes, a leading figure in the field of macrophages and liver regeneration and Professor of Transplantation and Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh. Syncona's holding value in Resolution is £1.8 million and, at the point full current commitments are invested, the Company will have a 79 per cent stake in Resolution. Martin Murphy, Chief Executive of Syncona Investment Management Limited, and Ed Hodgkin, Partner, have joined the Resolution Board as non-executive Directors.
Investment in Neogene Therapeutics
Syncona has co-led the $110.0 million Series A financing round of Neogene, with a commitment of $19.0 million (£14.8 million) alongside specialist investors including EcoR1, Jeito Capital, Vida Ventures, Bellco Capital, Two River, and TPG, of which the first tranche of $15.2 million (£11.9 million) has been invested (equal to current holding value). Neogene was founded in 2019 around the work of world-class founders, Dr Ton Schumacher and Dr Carsten Linnemann, and is developing an engineered cell therapy product for solid tumours based on a patient's own neoantigens. The Series A financing is intended to fund non-clinical validation of the company's proprietary tumour-specific T-cell receptor gene isolation platform and a future Phase I study. Elisa Petris, Partner of Syncona Investment Management Limited, has taken up the role of non-executive Director on the Neogene Board.
Martin Murphy, CEO, Syncona Investment Management Limited, said: "These are two exciting additions to our cell therapy platform, where we are strategically and uniquely positioned with expertise across a range of modalities. The foundation of Resolution represents an exciting opportunity to build the leading macrophage cell engineering company based on technology we have followed for several years, and our investment in the Series A financing in Neogene is a great example of our ability to source high quality opportunities in the cell therapy space, where we will partner with leading experts to support the development of an engineered cell therapy product for solid tumours.
Both Resolution and Neogene have great commercial potential and are founded on exceptional science from world-class academics, who we look forward to working alongside as the companies grow.
Our strong capital base means that we are able to continue to deploy capital into the best opportunities, whilst maintaining a rigorous and disciplined approach to capital allocation. Despite the impacts of COVID-19, our team continues to leverage its entrepreneurial culture to generate promising ideas and as restrictions ease, we look forward to advancing these opportunities."
Tel: +44 (0) 20 3981 7940
Ben Atwell / Natalie Garland-Collins / Tim Stamper
Tel: +44 (0) 20 3727 1000
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 a portfolio of global leaders in life science. Our vision is to build a sustainable, diverse portfolio of 15 - 20 companies focused on delivering transformational treatments to patients in truly innovative areas of healthcare, through which we are seeking to deliver strong risk-adjusted 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 strategic capital base which provides us with control and flexibility over the management of our portfolio. We focus on delivering dramatic efficacy for patients in areas of high unmet need.