26 September 2017

Syncona leads US$80m Autolus Series C investment round


  • Syncona leads $80 million Series C investment round in Autolus, contributing US$29.2 million (£21.7 million)[1]


  • Syncona investment in Autolus written up by £19.2 million (2.9p per share) to £88.6 million1 while its ownership stake in the business has increased to 38.4 per cent


  • $25 million in funding raised from specialist global institutional investors


Syncona Ltd (“Syncona”), a leading healthcare company focused on investing in and building global leaders in life science, today announces 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 (£21.7 million)1. Syncona also acquired additional shares worth £6.5 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 £88.6 million, a £19.2 million (2.9p per share) uplift to Syncona’s proforma valuation of £41.2 million, including a further £5 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


Call down of remaining Series B funding


Participation in Series C

£21.7m1 ($29.2m)

Valuation uplift


Acquisition of additional shares


Total Syncona valuation 








Syncona Ltd

Siobhan Weaver

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7611 2031


Tulchan Communications

Martin Robinson

Lisa Jarrett-Kerr

Tel: +44 (0) 207 353 4200

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 Ltd. 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 and forecasts. Nothing in this announcement should be construed as a profit forecast. 

About Syncona:

Syncona is a leading FTSE250 healthcare company focused on investing in and building 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. Our current investment portfolio consists of seven high quality companies in life science and a leading range of fund investments.  We seek to partner with the best, brightest and most ambitious minds in science to build globally competitive businesses. We are established leaders in gene therapy, cell therapy and advanced diagnostics, and focus on delivering dramatic efficacy for patients in areas of high unmet need.

Our market leading funds portfolio seeks to generate superior returns by investing in long only and alternative investment funds. This represents a productively deployed evergreen funding base which enables us to take a long term approach to investing in life sciences as we target the best new opportunities and support our existing portfolio companies to grow and succeed.

Syncona is aligned with two of the premium charitable funders in UK science, the Wellcome Trust, original founder of Syncona, and Cancer Research UK, both of which are significant shareholders in our business.  We make a donation of 0.3% of Net Asset Value to a range of charities each year.

About Autolus:

Autolus is a clinical-stage, biopharmaceutical company, focused on the development and commercialisation of engineered T-cell immunotherapy products to combat cancer. Utilising its advanced cell programming and manufacturing technologies, Autolus has a pipeline of products in development for the treatment of both haematological malignancies and solid tumours. For further information please visit the Company’s website at: www.autolus.com

About CAR-T therapy:


CAR-T therapy involves re-programming a patient’s immune system to kill tumour cells. T-cells, a type of white blood cell, are extracted from a patient’s blood, manipulated outside the body to incorporate the CAR gene, and then returned to the patient by infusion. The CAR gene introduces a targeting mechanism to the T-cells, enabling them to recognise, engage and destroy tumour cells in a highly specific manner.

Clinical trials of CAR T-cells in multiple myeloma and B-cell malignancies, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma, suggest that this approach may transform treatment of cancer patients, many of whom have no other therapeutic options.





[1] At foreign exchange rates as at 25 September 2017

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