Syncona Limited: Nightstar Lists On NASDAQ

Published: Sep 28, 2017

28 September 2017

  • First public listing of a Syncona-founded company, four years after Nightstar founding
  • Nightstar positioned to become a global leader in gene therapy for the treatment of inherited retinal diseases
  • Increase in value of Syncona’s current shareholding of £49.5 million1 (7.5p per share) to the last disclosed value of £67.6 million
  • Syncona agrees to invest $14 million (£10.4 million)1 in IPO to retain 43.4 per cent stake in the business2
  • Syncona weighting to life sciences investments increases to £409 million or over 40 per cent of net assets3

Syncona Ltd (“Syncona”), a leading healthcare company focused on investing in and building global leaders in life science, today notes that its portfolio company Nightstar Therapeutics plc (“Nightstar”) has today announced the pricing of its initial public offering in the United States of 5,360,000 American Depositary Shares (“ADSs”) representing 5,360,000 ordinary shares at an initial public offering price of $14.00 per ADS for total gross proceeds of approximately $75 million (£56 million1). All ADSs sold in the offering were offered by Nightstar. The shares are expected to begin trading on The NASDAQ Global Select Market on September 28, 2017 under the ticker symbol "NITE."

Following the offering, Syncona retains a stake of 43.4 per cent in Nightstar (amounting to 12,203,922 ordinary shares/ ADSs) having agreed to invest $14 million (£10.4 million1) in the IPO, in line with its strategy to maintain significant stakes in its portfolio companies as they seek to deliver their products to market and transformational treatments to patients.

Syncona launched Nightstar in 2013 with Professor Robert MacLaren, Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Oxford. Since that time Syncona has worked with Nightstar as it has made significant progress developing its differentiated gene therapy pipeline for rare inherited retinal disease, building its commercial platform and expanding its leading management team.

Syncona’s Chief Investment Officer and Nightstar Chairman, Chris Hollowood, said, “Syncona founded Nightstar in 2013 with the ambition of building a global leader in gene therapy for inherited retinal diseases, and we see it reach an important milestone on that mission today. We are proud of what has been achieved so far and look forward to our continued partnership as significant owners and strong supporters of the business over Nightstar’s next stage of growth and development.”

The IPO, combined with participation in the Autolus Series C funding round this month, has enabled Syncona to continue its transition to life sciences, increasing its weighting from 25 per cent of assets at the start of the 2017 to over 40 per cent in life sciences today. This transition is supported by a deep pool of productively deployed capital in the fund of funds portfolio, a model which provides Syncona with a strategic advantage as it seeks to build global leaders in life science.

This press release does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy securities, and shall not constitute an offer, solicitation or sale in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of that jurisdiction.

The securities referred to in this release are to be offered only by means of a prospectus. When available, copies of the prospectus can be obtained from Jefferies LLC, Attention: Equity Syndicate Prospectus Department, 520 Madison Avenue, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10022, or by telephone at (877) 547-6340, or by email at Prospectus_Department@Jefferies.com; Leerink Partners LLC, Attention: Syndicate Department, One Federal Street, 37th Floor, Boston, MA 02110, or by telephone at (800) 808-7525 ext. 6132, or by email at Syndicate@Leerink.com; or BMO Capital Markets Corp., Attention: Equity Syndicate Department, 3 Times Square, New York, NY 10036, or by telephone at (800) 414-3627, or by email at bmoprospectus@bmo.com.

[ENDS]

Enquiries

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 Nightstar:

Nightstar is a leading clinical-stage gene therapy company focused on developing and commercializing novel one-time treatments for patients suffering from rare inherited retinal diseases that would otherwise progress to blindness.

About Gene therapy:

Genetic diseases are caused by absent or mutated versions of genes. Gene Therapy involves treating a subset of these diseases by delivering a normal copy of the gene to the cells to replace missing or defective ones in order to correct the genetic disorder. There are more than 250 monogenic diseases of the eye which are known to result in blindness. The retina, at the back of the eye, is ideally suited to gene therapy as it is easily accessible and can be viewed during surgery. Delivering the normal gene to dysfunctional cells of the retina may enable the cells to function normally, potentially restoring or retaining vision.

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