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Syncona Limited Syncona co-leads Series B financing in Quell

29/11/2021 7:00am

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Syncona (LSE:SYNC)
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Syncona Limited

29 November 2021

Syncona Limited

Syncona co-leads Series B financing in Quell Therapeutics of up to $156 million

29 November 2021

-- Syncona co-leads Quell's Series B financing of up to $156 million (GBP117 million [1] ), committing $25 million (GBP19 million), with the remainder raised from global specialist investors

-- Syncona's holding in Quell written up by GBP19 million (3p per share); 41 per cent uplift to the previous holding value of GBP45 million [2]

-- Syncona holding value now of GBP74 million following first tranche investment of $14 million (GBP10 million); on drawdown of the full Series B financing, Syncona's ownership stake in the business will be 37 per cent [3]

Syncona Ltd, a leading healthcare company focused on founding, building and funding global leaders in life science, today announces that it has committed $25 million (GBP19 million) to Quell Therapeutics ("Quell"), a world leader in developing engineered T-regulatory (Treg) cell therapies for serious medical conditions driven by the immune system, in an up to $156 million (GBP 117 million) Series B financing. Syncona co-led the financing round alongside specialist global institutional investors Jeito Capital, Ridgeback Capital Investments, SV Health Investors and Fidelity Management & Research Company LLC, which also brought in investment from Future Fund: Breakthrough managed by British Patient Capital, amongst others. Following the Series B financing Syncona has revalued its existing investment, which has resulted in an GBP 19 million uplift (3p per Syncona share) to Syncona's holding value of Quell.

Including the drawdown of the first tranche of Syncona's Series B investment of $ 14 million (GBP10 million) , Syncona's holding value of Quell is now GBP74 million. On drawdown of the full Series B financing, Syncona's ownership stake in Quell will be 37 per cent.

Quell is developing engineered Treg cell therapies, seeking to harness the suppressive capacity of Tregs by leveraging their potential to downregulate the immune system, to treat a range of applications, the first of which will be in solid organ transplantation. Quell is currently preparing for one of the first ever clinical trials of an engineered Treg cell therapy with its lead candidate QEL-001, designed to prevent organ rejection in liver transplant patients. This Phase I/II clinical trial, known as LIBERATE, is on track to initiate in Q1 CY2022.

The Series B financing brings Quell to up to $219 million (GBP163 million) of total funding to date. Proceeds are expected to continue to fund Quell's early clinical development of its QEL-001 programme in liver transplantation as well as advance its pipeline elsewhere in its core therapeutic areas of transplantation, neuroinflammatory diseases (including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and autoimmune diseases (including Type 1 diabetes). Additionally, the funding will enhance Quell's autologous engineered Treg platform and enable it to develop an allogeneic CAR-Treg platform, as well as allowing it to continue the development of its manufacturing footprint.

Martin Murphy, Chief Executive Officer of Syncona Investment Management Limited, said: "In 2019, Syncona co-founded Quell, bringing together pioneering science from leading UK and European universities, with the ambition to develop first-in-class therapies in the ground-breaking Treg field offering the potential to make a real difference to the lives of patients. Since then, the progress made by the Quell team, led by Iain McGill, is remarkable. The business has moved from concept-to-clinic in under three years.

"This financing underlines the progress the company has made to date and the scale of its ambition. Supported by a strong syndicate of global investors, the business will be able to progress its lead program and pipeline, whilst building scalable manufacturing capabilities, as it seeks to entrench its leadership position in an emerging field of innovative medicine."

Ian McGill, Chief Executive Officer of Quell Therapeutics, said: "Quell is at the forefront of a new wave of cell therapy. We are leading the way with our highly differentiated, multi-modular approach to Treg therapy engineering and production.

"We are proud to have the support of this premiere syndicate of investors as we drive forward to our next stage of growth. With this financing, we have the full suite of capabilities - capital, cutting-edge science, and a world-class team - to advance our pipeline and platform to key milestones on our path ultimately to deliver potentially transformative therapies to patients suffering from the disease of immune dysregulation."


Copies of this press release and other corporate information can be found on the company website at:

Forward-looking statements - this announcement contains certain forward-looking statements with respect to the portfolio of investments of Syncona Limited. These statements and forecasts involve risk and uncertainty because they relate to events and depend upon circumstances that may or may not occur in the future. There are a number of factors that could cause actual results or developments to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. In particular, many companies in the Syncona Limited portfolio are conducting scientific research and clinical trials where the outcome is inherently uncertain and there is significant risk of negative results or adverse events arising. In addition, many companies in the Syncona Limited portfolio have yet to commercialise a product and their ability to do so may be affected by operational, commercial and other risks.


Syncona Ltd

Annabel Clay / Fergus Witt

Tel: +44 (0) 20 3981 7940

FTI Consulting

Ben Atwell / Natalie Garland-Collins / Tim Stamper

Tel: +44 (0) 20 3727 1000

About Syncona

Syncona's purpose is to invest to extend and enhance human life. We do this by founding and building companies to deliver transformational treatments to patients in areas of high unmet need.

Our strategy is to found, build and fund companies around exceptional science to create a diversified portfolio of 15-20 globally leading healthcare businesses for the benefit of all our stakeholders. We focus on developing treatments for patients by working in close partnership with world-class academic founders and management teams. Our balance sheet underpins our strategy enabling us to take a long-term view as we look to improve the lives of patients with no or poor treatment options, build sustainable life science companies and deliver strong risk-adjusted returns to shareholders.

About Quell Therapeutics

Quell Therapeutics is the world leader in developing engineered T-regulatory (Treg) cell therapies that aim to harness, direct and optimize their immune suppressive properties to address serious medical conditions driven by the immune system.

The Company is leveraging its pioneering phenotype lock technology, unique multi-modular platform and integrated manufacturing capabilities to design and develop a pipeline of highly engineered Treg cell therapies with greater potential for persistence, potency and stability than earlier generations of Treg cell therapy approaches.

Quell's lead candidate QEL-001 is being developed to induce operational tolerance following liver transplantation, with the potential to protect the post-transplant liver without the need for chronic immunosuppressive medications. Quell is also advancing additional programs in neuroinflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

[1] FX rates at 22 November 2021

[2] As of 30 September 2021

[3] Percentage holding reflects Syncona's ownership stake at the point full current commitments are invested on a fully-diluted basis

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