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

Nightstar was one of Syncona’s first gene therapy companies and is a a leading clinical-stage gene therapy company focused on developing and commercialising novel one-time treatments for patients suffering from rare inherited retinal diseases that would otherwise progress to blindness. 

Founding, building, funding a company through to value realisation

Sold to Biogen in 2019 for $877m

£225m proceeds

72% IRR

4.5x multiple of cost

  • Syncona partnered with Robert Maclaren, a Professor of Ophthalmology at Oxford to found the business in 2013
  • In the space of six years, Nightstar progressed from an academic programme at Oxford University led by a single academic to a publicly listed company at the cutting edge of gene therapy and leader in its field
  • Set-up with the intent of global success – both in terms of its ambition to take its products all the way to market itself, and also in the way it was funded
  • Importantly, Syncona’s long-term, high conviction approach to financing the business ultimately enabled it to build the platform and team from the start that would allow it to develop a successful, globally competitive biotech company
  • Syncona invested £57m in the business and was the sole investor at the £16m Series A financing, investing in each round after, including at the IPO and follow-on financing
  • This strategy and the company’s subsequent success has ultimately culminated in Nightstar’s acquisition by Biogen for $877 million in March 2019

Other previous investments portfolio companies