We found leading life science companies in partnership with world class academics by identifying exceptional science that can deliver dramatic efficacy for patients and around which we can build a company with a long-term opportunity to take products to market.

This approach means that when we make an initial investment, we generally set up the company and put in place the team, processes and infrastructure. Our strategy is to hold significant ownership positions in our companies and, importantly, work in partnership with them as they scale, actively driving business strategy. We typically have at least one Syncona representative on our companies’ boards.

This approach means that we are well positioned to make a difference as a responsible investor and partner for our portfolio companies. We aim to help our companies enhance their positive impacts, and particularly to set the right culture, values and processes to help the businesses to follow a sustainable path over the long term. We also encourage portfolio companies to share sustainability best practices.

This approach means that we are well positioned to make a difference as a responsible investor and partner for our portfolio companies. We aim to help our companies enhance their positive impacts, and particularly to set the right culture, values and processes to help the businesses to follow a sustainable path over the long term. We also encourage portfolio companies to share sustainability best practices.

We support our portfolio companies to establish guiding principles and policies for sustainability, and ask them to report to us on their progress in implementing and applying them. We are also committed to aligning our investment approach with global standards, and were happy to announce in October 2021 that we had become a signatory to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). For more information on the PRI, it can be found here

Syncona is committed to

A responsible investment process

Integrating sustainability issues into our investment and management processes, with the right culture, values and expectations for sustainability set at the beginning of the investment process.

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Being a responsible partner for our portfolio companies

Supporting each portfolio company to establish appropriate governance and monitoring processes for their sustainability performance, to ensure the most relevant sustainability issues are taken into consideration at each stage throughout a company’s lifecycle.

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Interview

Gonzalo Garcia
Gonzalo Garcia
Chief of Staff, Resolution, and Syncona Partner

Attracting a high quality and diverse team

Q. Tell us a little about Resolution and its goals?

Resolution is a newly founded macrophage cell therapy company
focused on treating patients with inflammatory organ damage. It was
started in August 2020 and the first stage of the company’s life is to build a strong team to lead its exciting programme of work. We are seeking to be the leading company in the field delivering for patients and our people over the long term.

Q: As Chief of Staff in one of Syncona’s most recently founded companies, how have you worked with the team to build the culture in the business and why is getting this right important to Syncona?

A big part of it is stepping into the company in an operational role in the first place; not many investors will roll their sleeves up the way we do. Taking that step immediately positions us alongside the rest of the team instead of across the table from them, which in turn allows us to lead by example and be hyper-responsive to each team member's priorities and concerns.

The focus is then squarely on transparency and openness: decisions are made as a full team, with everyone brought on the journey and owning the outcome, whilst risks and fears are debated openly and mitigated together without fear of repercussions. For example, as Chief of Staff, I personally always try to make a point of highlighting my own mistakes so that others feel secure and supported to speak up.

Finally, we also make a conscious effort to ‘flatten the hierarchy’ and to get to know each other as people rather than as colleagues, for example through silly icebreaker sessions, thus further empowering people to speak up. These steps are all taken to ensure our people feel truly valued, and in doing so aims to unite them through a deep sense of purpose in pursuit of our mission, bringing out the best in each and every individual. Getting these cultural aspects right will turbocharge the business by fostering leadership even at the most junior levels, in turn creating a happier workforce, identifying and mitigating risks before they grow, and ultimately driving better execution. Doubly so in a world where we need to work part-remotely!

Q: What strategy have you employed to ensure you attract a high quality and diverse team? What benefit do you see this providing the business as it grows?

Right at the start we took the decision to run a large-scale recruitment process with a multi-step funnel of candidates, and in turn we made sure that the candidates being fed into that funnel were from diverse backgrounds with an even gender split. Each step of the process was standardised and involved a formal assessment of the candidates along pre-set dimensions, thus allowing us to remain as objective as possible whilst attempting to counter any unconscious bias. Interviewers were also trained, and all took part in the design of the process. The end result was a team of top-quality hires who stood out amongst their peers, representing an even gender split, multiple nationalities from around the world, and the full range of academic-to-industrial backgrounds. It is thanks to this team and their diverse experiences, alongside our open culture, that we will be able to grow and adapt as the environment changes around us.

Q: How do you envisage Resolution’s culture contributing to its sustainability as a business?

Transparency and adaptability I think are the key factors here. In my view the first step towards ensuring sustainability is acknowledging the starting point, warts and all. As Syncona frames the overall sustainability initiative and provides Resolution with the necessary tools, my belief is that the company will immediately be candid in assessing its own baseline, will share the results transparently, and will ensure open debate and commitment to action without any frustration or difficulty. In turn, the company will have what it needs to set itself ambitious targets in sustainability areas and will hopefully integrate these targets into its strategy as core enablers of its mission. Time  will tell!

In my view the first step towards ensuring sustainability is acknowledging the starting point, warts and all