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.
Throughout the 2021/2 financial year, we have been working with our portfolio companies to introduce them to the six core pillars of our Responsible Investment Policy, and ensure they are integrated into their operations. These six core pillars are:
Syncona believes that robust and effective compliance and governance is important for any successful business, and that we and our portfolio companies should clearly set out conduct expectations for our employees and others that we work with. To implement this, we ask our portfolio companies to have policies across eight key compliance and governance focus areas.
Compliance and governance focus areas:
- Anti-fraud, bribery and corruption
- Approach to taxation
- Conflicts of interest
- Data protection and information security
- Ethical procurement
- Health and safety
- Modern slavery
Syncona is committed to achieving broad patient access to medicines. Many of the medicines that Syncona’s portfolio companies are developing address smaller groups of patients and, given their highly complex nature, can be expensive to develop. This may result in the individual costs of these products being high. We support our companies in considering and designing strategies to address larger patient groups as the company progresses through the drug development cycle to the point where the therapy has been de-risked.
We expect our portfolio companies to carry out business ethically and transparently, recognising that they are commercial businesses, and taking into consideration the impact on a range of stakeholders including patients, shareholders and the portfolio companies themselves. We believe our companies should align with industry best practice, particularly around pricing, and once products are developed they should consider how best to ensure underrepresented groups can have access to these therapies.
Syncona is committed to high standards of ethical care across all aspects of our business, including research activity. We acknowledge that, at this time, research involving animals remains an essential tool to increase our understanding of potential new technologies and provide us with critical data to assess the potential safety and benefit of testing a medicine in a human being for the first time. We therefore accept the use of animals in research if the potential health benefits are compelling, appropriate welfare standards are met and alternatives cannot be found.
We require our portfolio companies to:
- Meet all legal and regulatory requirements which set a high standard on this important issue.
- Adopt the widely used ‘3Rs’ approach to replace, reduce and refine the use of animals for scientific purposes.
Further detail on the 3Rs is available from nc3rs.org.uk
Syncona believes that its portfolio companies should ensure high standards throughout the drug development process. This process inherently includes risks as any new medicine has the potential to produce adverse events. We expect the drug development process to be managed prudently and in line with accepted standards, to minimise those risks as far as practical, recognising the huge opportunity that new treatments can bring, particularly in indications with high unmet need.
After product approval there should be transparency about potential adverse events, with effective monitoring and reporting to regulatory authorities. We are also mindful of data protection concerns and have high expectations for data and patient privacy.
Syncona is committed to being an advocate for diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the scientific and investment communities. We expect our companies to build a strong culture, a diverse and inclusive team and high-quality relationships, that are capable of managing the inevitable challenges that arise in developing very specialised assets and scaling companies through the development cycle.
We expect our companies to be committed to the principle of taking positive action to address inequalities both inside and outside the company, and that the company considers in good faith issues that Syncona asks for improvement on.
Syncona is committed to operating its business in an environmentally responsible and sustainable manner. We agree with the signatories to the 2015 Paris Agreement that our collective approach needs to limit climate change to within a 1.5 degree Celsius global temperature increase by the end of the 21st century.
Given the progress made by Syncona and its portfolio companies in improving environmental disclosure and aligning business operations with the 2015 Paris Goals, we have incorporated SDG 13, Climate Action, to the group of core SDGs which Syncona is aligned with.
“Fundamental to each investment is the potential impact of the technology to deliver transformational impact for patients in an area of high unmet medical need.”