We are focused on driving long term sustainable performance for all of our stakeholders
We are committed to conducting our business in a way that is both economically sound and socially and environmentally responsible and we must ensure that Syncona is governed by taking account of the interests of all stakeholders, including employees, patients and society as a whole.

Our six key stakeholders

We seek to understand our stakeholders’ views and ensure that their interests are appropriately considered in board discussions and decision making.

Key issues

Our portfolio companies work closely with patients as they develop transformational treatments for high unmet needs. Patients are interested in the success of development, their ability to access treatments, and that clinical research takes place in a safe and compliant manner.

How does Syncona engage with them?

Engagement is typically led by our portfolio companies, who also have responsibility for conducting clinical research to a high standard. Syncona sets expectations for our portfolio companies around access to medicines and conduct of research, as part of our Responsible Investment Policy. The Syncona team monitors the activities of the portfolio companies as part of their wider investment monitoring.

Impact on Board activities

The Board has approved our purpose this year, reconfirming our focus on investing to extend and enhance human life.

The Board has also had extensive discussions around our approach to responsible investment during the year, including our expectations on access to medicines and conduct of research, and has now approved the policy.

Any relevant and major issues arising from portfolio companies are reported to the Board as appropriate.

Key issues

Shareholders want to know we are running a long-term, sustainable business that will deliver strong risk adjusted returns. The business model is capital intensive and so maintaining alignment with shareholders and access to capital is key for us.

How does Syncona engage with them?

The Chair seeks to engage with key shareholders and investor groups each year.

The SIML executive team meet with key shareholders after the annual and interim results, typically reaching shareholders holding more than 80% of shares. The team also engage on an ongoing basis with existing and potential shareholders.

Impact on Board activities

Feedback from shareholders is reported at each Board meeting, and considered by the Board as part of strategy and other discussions. The Board also discuss the effectiveness of shareholder engagement.

The Board has had extensive discussions around sustainability and responsible investment issues during the year, to ensure we are achieving the expectations of shareholders and other stakeholders, and has now approved policies in these areas.

Key issues?

Ensuring the team is recruited, retained and fully engaged with the Company’s strategy is key to our success and a key risk for us. The team seeks a working environment providing a high quality culture, strong opportunities for development and aligned remuneration.

How does Syncona engage with them?

Managing the team is a core part of the Syncona executive team’s role.

The small size of the team also allows a direct connection between the Board and the Syncona team. The Board has designated an employee engagement director, Gian Piero Reverberi, who with the Chair who met individually with a range of team members during the year. The Board also joins the Syncona team for their quarterly review meetings, and (outside the COVID-19 pandemic) for informal lunches.

Impact on Board activities

Team matters have been key items on the Board agenda this year, including agreeing a set of Syncona values developed by the Syncona team and other work to formalise the Syncona culture; reporting from Gian Piero Reverberi on his engagement with the team; and supporting the Syncona team in recruitment of key senior leaders during the year, including a Chief Human Resources Officer. Our risk process also recognises the Syncona team as one of the key risks of the business.

Alongside this, the Remuneration Committee considers incentivisation of the team and approves awards under the long term incentive scheme.

Key issues

Our strategy is executed through our portfolio companies, and we aim to ensure they act in line with our expectations as a responsible investor. In turn, our portfolio companies rely on our support for them, both financial and through our knowledge and networks.

How does Syncona engage with them?

Support and oversight of portfolio companies is a core part of the Syncona team’s role. There is generally a very close relationship with one or more Syncona team members in regular contact with the portfolio company’s senior team to support their business and clinical strategies and drive long-term value, and taking board seats to promote high quality governance and oversight. Syncona sets expectations for our portfolio companies as part of our responsible investment policy.

Impact on Board activities

The Syncona team provides extensive reporting on portfolio companies to the Board at each meeting, as a key element of the Board’s oversight and assurance role.

The Board also meet directly with portfolio companies, to more fully understand their businesses and (particularly) how the Syncona team interact with them.

Key issues

Charitable giving has been part of the Syncona story since 2012, when BACIT Limited (now Syncona) was established with a commitment to donate a percentage of its NAV to charity each year. The charities benefit from long term and sustainable donations, and the potential for growth as the Syncona NAV grows

How does Syncona engage with them?

Syncona’s donations are principally through the Syncona Foundation, which is independent of Syncona but closely aligned with its aim of transforming the lives of patients. The Foundation in turn supports and maintains relationships with a range of charities. Two Board members are also trustees, and a member of the team attends trustee meetings as an observer.

Impact on Board activities

The Foundation’s trustees present annually to the Board on the impact of the donations. In addition, the Board are invited to attend charity presentations each quarter, to gain a fuller understanding of the impact that Syncona’s support has had.

Key issues

Maintaining our licence to operate is vital. We believe our purpose is fundamentally positive for society. We aim to run our business in a sustainable way, acting as a responsible investor and meeting expectations for our impact on the community and the environment, high standards of business conduct and other impacts on society.

How does Syncona engage with them?

We aim to provide information about our wider impacts to the public and other stakeholders. We have recently published a Sustainability Report setting out more details of our approach on sustainability issues, and intend to do this each year.

Impact on Board activities

The Board has approved our purpose this year, reconfirming our focus on investing to extend and enhance human life. The Board has had extensive discussions around sustainability and responsible investment issues during the year, to ensure we are achieving the expectations of shareholders and other stakeholders, and has now approved policies in these areas.

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