Austen Shakespeare

Eye care specialist sold for up to £1.1bn

A healthcare company has announced an agreement has been reached to sell its portfolio company to a global medicines company, for up to £1.1 billion.

Syncona Ltd is selling Gyroscope Therapeutics Holdings plc to Novartis, on a cash and debt free basis, with an upfront payment of £604 million and up to £528 million potentially due upon the achievement of certain customary milestones related to clinical development, regulatory approvals and reimbursement.

Syncona co-founded Gyroscope in 2016 and has taken a long-term approach to building the business, working closely with its management team. Today the company specializes in ocular gene therapies, combining discovery, research, drug development, a manufacturing platform and surgical delivery capabilities.

It has nearly 200 employees and is executing on its Phase II clinical trials for the treatment of geographic atrophy (GA) secondary to age-related macular degeneration (AMD), having generated positive clinical data in its Phase I/II FOCUS trial.

The upfront proceeds, when received, will, reportedly, strengthen Syncona’s capital pool and enhance its ability to expand its portfolio and fund its companies as they scale.

Chris Hollowood, chief investment officer at Syncona Investment Management LTD, said: “This transaction further demonstrates the success and pace of the Syncona model to deliver for all our stakeholders.

“We have a growing track record of founding and building globally competitive life science companies with product-focused strategies in areas of high unmet need.

“On closing this will mark the third sale of a portfolio company over the last three years, generating total potential proceeds, assuming full receipt of milestones from the sale of Gyroscope, of up to £1.2 billion, an aggregate 5.8 multiple of cost.”

Chris concluded: “We are excited that the proceeds will further strengthen our capital base, enhance our growing portfolio companies as they scale, and fund exciting new opportunities as they emerge.”

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