Syncona Ltd, a leading healthcare company focused on founding, building and funding a portfolio of global leaders in life science, today provides an update on its business following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the start of the outbreak, Syncona has taken measures to protect its employees, primarily centred around remote working, to help ensure that the Company can continue to operate with as minimal disruption as possible. The Company has formed a working group to monitor and manage risks relating to the COVID-19 pandemic with the health and safety of its staff a key priority.
Martin Murphy, CEO of Syncona Investment Management Limited, said: "COVID-19 will have a major impact across the healthcare systems where we are running our clinical studies. Healthcare systems are working to focus their resources on managing COVID-19 patients and, as a result, certain elective procedures and clinical trials will be de-prioritised while the peak epidemic is managed. Syncona fully supports these decisions.
As a consequence of these developments, our companies have made or are considering appropriate plans for delays to clinical trials. While it is hard to forecast the precise impact, we would anticipate delays to a number of our clinical stage programmes of at least three months. Whilst the duration and level of disruption from COVID-19 across the industry remains uncertain at this time, we are working closely with our portfolio companies to minimise disruption, avoid unnecessary burdens on health services, and ensure the safety of their employees and the patients taking part in clinical studies.
"Our capital base of approximately £780 million provides us with a differentiated ability to fund our companies through a prolonged period of widespread disruption and diligence new opportunities. While COVID-19 represents an unparalleled challenge to the public health system, it is important to remember that the need for medicines in other diseases continues undiminished and, once the COVID-19 situation has stabilised, clinical development activity will continue. With Syncona's support, our companies are well positioned to be resilient over the longer term as they look to realise their ambitions and our vision to deliver transformational treatments to patients in areas of high unmet medical need."
Syncona anticipates at least three months delay to trials across a number of clinical programmes in its portfolio. The Company continues to monitor the situation closely and will keep the market updated as we gain further visibility on external developments.
Syncona does not currently anticipate that these delays will have any impact to the reported valuations of our privately held companies.
Capital pool update
Syncona manages its capital pool to focus on liquidity and capital preservation. In the period since 31 December 2020, £39.0 million of milestone payments have been made to portfolio companies. At 20 March 2020, the Company's capital pool amounted to approximately £780 million with approximately 90 per cent in cash and cash equivalents and the remainder held in legacy fixed term funds.
Siobhan Weaver / Annabel Clay
Tel: +44 (0) 20 3981 7940
Ben Atwell / Natalie Garland-Collins / Tim Stamper
Tel: +44 (0) 20 3727 1000
Syncona is a leading FTSE250 healthcare company focused on founding, building and funding a portfolio of global leaders in life science. Our vision is to build a sustainable, diverse portfolio of 15 - 20 companies focused on delivering transformational treatments to patients in truly innovative areas of healthcare, through which we are seeking to deliver strong risk-adjusted returns for shareholders.
We seek to partner with the best, brightest and most ambitious minds in science to build globally competitive businesses. We take a long-term view, underpinned by a strategic capital base which provides us with control and flexibility over the management of our portfolio. We focus on delivering dramatic efficacy for patients in areas of high unmet need.