Syncona is a leading FTSE250 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 attractive returns for shareholders. Our current investment portfolio consists of seven high quality investee 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 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 science as we target the best new opportunities and support our existing portfolio investee 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.
Our business is made up of an investment portfolio and a life science investment company. This innovative and efficient structure enables us to access a deep pool of capital when the right life science opportunities arise, while generating attractive returns for shareholders on an ongoing basis.
Our unique hybrid structure enables us to take a long term approach and to support our companies as they grow and succeed.
Syncona was formed in December 2016, when BACIT (formerly Battle Against Cancer Investment Trust) acquired Syncona Partners LLP to form an investment company valued at more than £850 million.
Syncona Partners LLP was founded as an independent subsidiary of the Wellcome Trust in September 2012 with evergreen capital of £200 million, later expanded to £250 million. Wellcome created Syncona in response to the lack of patient capital in life science in the United Kingdom, with a long-term vision of building sustainable life-science businesses around highly-innovative academic science. By December 2016 Syncona had helped to create and invested in seven life science businesses, which remain in Syncona’s life science portfolio. Wellcome is a significant shareholder in the new vehicle.
BACIT was also established in 2012 with the ultimate goal of helping to find a cure for cancer. It sought to achieve this through a fund of funds portfolio which would generate returns for shareholders while investing in oncology research and donating a significant amount to charities each year. Upon listing it raised £206 million, with further share issuance and organic growth taking the company to a £500 million market capitalisation by October 2016. BACIT held 32 investments in December 2016, including a holding in the CRT Pioneer Fund, a life science joint venture with Cancer Research UK.
BACIT and Syncona shared the view that the lack of long-term capital available in the United Kingdom was holding back the commercialisation of life science research resulting in a failure to maximise the commercial value of these opportunities. In late 2016 Syncona LLP and BACIT agreed to combine their businesses with the aim of addressing this capital shortage, capturing the full value of UK science and delivering life-changing outcomes for patients.
The combination has created a unique business with the track record, capability, scale, capital, ambition and long term view required to succeed in the space.
About the Wellcome Trust
Wellcome exists to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive. It is a global charitable foundation which is both politically and financially independent. Wellcome supports scientists and researchers, takes on big problems, fuels imaginations, and sparks debate. Its funding supports over 14,000 people in more than 70 countries. In the next five years, Wellcome aims to spend up to £5 billion helping thousands of curious, passionate people all over the world explore ideas in science, population health, medical innovation, the humanities and social sciences and public engagement. Wellcome Trust has a £20.9 billion investment portfolio, which funds all the work it does. This allows Wellcome to plan for the long-term, while having the independence to act flexibly and responsively.
We launched Syncona with a long-term vision to offer support for some of the best innovators in life sciences, and to deliver impact to patients.
Dr Jeremy Farrar, Director of Wellcome
About Cancer Research UK
Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research and whose vision is to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured. In 2015, CRUK committed a total of £432 million to cancer research projects and is the world’s largest independent supporter of cancer research.
The partnership between CRUK and Syncona Ltd provides the opportunity to build a company with the vision and scale to bring significant long term capital to the development of oncology programmes, delivering new innovations faster to patients. This is an important step in our mission to bring forward the day when all cancers are beaten.