Neogene was founded in 2018, based on the work of Dr Ton Schumacher, a leading cancer immunologist, and Dr Carsten Linnemann, who was previously associate director of next generation T cell therapy at Kite Pharma. In 2020 Syncona co-led the company’s $110 million Series A financing round, committing $19 million alongside EcoR1 Capital, Jeito Capital, Polaris Partners, Pontifax, Vida Ventures, TPG and Two River.

Neogene is developing a range of next-generation, neoantigen-targeting engineered T cell receptor (TCR) therapies for solid cancers. Its scalable approach to manufacturing and ability to deliver a tailored set of TCR genes to each individual patient enables a personalised therapy which has promising commercial potential. Its lead autologous therapy, NT-125, began enrolling patients in 2022, having had its Clinical Trial Application approved in the Netherlands for a Phase I study of the drug.

In November 2022 agreement was reached with AstraZeneca for the sale of Neogene in an acquisition worth up to $320 million, with $200 million in up front proceeds. Up front cash proceeds for Syncona on closing were £16 million (1.1 multiple on invested capital and 4% IRR), with a further £6 million due on the achievement of certain future milestones. The sale to AstraZeneca enabled Neogene to continue its development alongside a partner with deep expertise in oncology, and further underlined the attractiveness of Syncona portfolio companies to pharma.

Key facts:

  • Syncona first invested in Neogene in 2020, co-leading a $110 million Series A financing
  • From 2020 until its sale in 2023, Syncona Investment Management Limited Chair Martin Murphy sat on the company’s Board of Directors
  • Sale to AstraZeneca completed in January 2023 for up to $320 million
  • Sale delivered £16 million of up front cash proceeds, a 1.1 multiple and 4% IRR
  • A potential further £6 million in proceeds due to Syncona with the achievement of certain future milestones, taking total proceeds to £22 million, a 1.5 multiple on original cost[1]


[1] Estimate using foreign exchange rates at closing of transaction in January 2023

Other previous portfolio portfolio companies