SYNPROMICS, the Scottish biotech company, has hailed a £5.2 million funding injection unveiled yesterday as a major vote of confidence in the prospects of its gene-based technology, which can be applied to a range of medical treatments and therapies.
Calculus Capital, the London-based private equity firm, has backed Edinburgh-based Synpromics for a second time, leading the new round with a £3.5m investment alongside backing from Scottish Enterprise and a group of private investors.
Synpromics chief executive David Venables said the latest investment underlines the strides the firm has taken since the initial made by Calculus and others 18 months ago, during which time its team has grown to 24 from nine and the firm has struck a deal with range of large and small companies.
Loading article content
Mr Venables said the team have also made significant progress with its technology, which aims to treat genetic disorders and diseases with gene-based therapies. He said: “We see this now as a great opportunity to raise more money and go out and accelerate our growth, and push on to the next phase.”
Synpromics has developed technology that allows it to create synthetic gene promoters, which are described as vital components in the research and development of gene-based medical treatments and therapies. Its main markets are in gene medicine, taking in gene therapy, gene editing and cell therapy, within which genetic diseases are treated through genetic means through DNA, rather than small molecule drugs. The technology works by allowing precise control of gene function.
Synpromics is also involved in a number of research collaborations, including a project to develop biosynthetic gene promoters with US life sciences company GE Healthcare.
Mr Venables declared the latest investment it has received will allow it to fund further research into its platform, allowing it to become more specialised in its capability.
He said: “We are investing a lot in that platform, and demonstrating it. We want to be able to validate that technology in a number of different therapeutic settings. We want to take ownership for doing more of that. At the moment we are heavily reliant on our partners to do a lot of that validation and exemplification of the technology.
“What we want to do is bring a lot more of that in-house, because then we can advance the technology further ourselves, generate more value, and get more and better deals done.”
Mr Venables, who envisages lifting the research team to up to 35 in the next 18 months, was unable to disclose the stake Calculus Capital now holds in the business. The firm has provided the backing through its Enterprise Investment Scheme funds, under which investors typically exit after five to seven years, and its venture capital trust.
Mr Venables raised the prospect of listing the business on the Alternative Investment Market and on the Nasdaq index in the US, adding that it may ultimately find itself an acquisition target.
John Glencross, chief executive of Calculus Capital, said: “Since our initial investment in 2015, its performance as a business has been outstanding, with many positive developments, both commercially and in its research, which are putting it on the radar of the major players in life sciences both in Europe and the US.”