Syncona backs Autolus fund raise

Syncona backs Autolus fund raise – Syncona has announced that its portfolio company, Autolus, has completed a US$80 million Series C funding round. Autolus is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialisation of next-generation engineered CAR-T cell therapies for the
treatment of cancer.

Syncona was the single largest investor in the $80 million investment round, contributing $29.2 million (GBP21.7 million). Syncona also acquired additional shares worth GBP6.5 million from an existing shareholder.  As part of the round, $25 million was raised from leading new global institutional investors Cormorant Asset Management, Nextech Invest and others.

The funding round resulted in a write-up of Syncona’s investment in Autolus to GBP88.6 million, a GBP19.2 million (2.9p per share) uplift to Syncona’s proforma valuation of GBP41.2 million, including a further GBP5 million outstanding contribution from the Series B. Following the transaction, Syncona’s ownership of Autolus has increased by 1.5 per cent to 38.4 per cent on a fully diluted basis.

Autolus was founded by Syncona in 2014 based on programmes and technologies from the laboratory of Dr Martin Pule, a clinical haematologist and leader in the field of engineered T-cell therapies. The business has since grown to around 100 employees led by a highly experienced management team at its headquarters in West London. Employing innovative T-cell programming and manufacturing technologies, Autolus is developing first or best in class CAR-T treatments with curative potential in cancer. It is developing an advanced commercial platform to support the rollout of these programmes, including significant investments in building an integrated end-to-end service model. The funds will enable Autolus to advance its globally differentiated clinical-stage pipeline while building advanced infrastructure to bring its CAR T-cell therapy rapidly and successfully to market.

Syncona’s Chief Executive Officer, Life Sciences, and founding Autolus Board Member, Martin Murphy, said: “Autolus is at the forefront of a revolution in cancer treatment that aims to improve the survival of patients. Since Syncona founded the business three years ago it has made excellent progress, and the quality of the institutional investors attracted in this funding round are testament to the strength of the business. We look forward to continuing to support Autolus as it executes its plan to deliver transformational treatments to patients.”

Autolus Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, Christian Itin, said, “Autolus is focused on developing differentiated CAR-T treatments with curative potential. This successful investment round will enable us to evaluate our clinical programs in blood cancers with the goal to establish clinical proof of concept and get our first programs for the treatment of solid tumors to clinical stage using our advanced cell programming technology. Autolus has an experienced and commercially driven management team, with strong investor support, and we are all driven to bring this new class of promising therapies to cancer patients.”

Syncona valuation at 31 July 2017             £36.2m
Call down of remaining Series B funding   £5.0m
Participation in Series C                               £21.7m ($29.2m)
Valuation uplift                                              £19.2m
Acquisition of additional shares                   £6.5m
Total Syncona valuation                              £88.6m

SYNC : Syncona backs Autolus fund raise

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