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EIS investors to reap rewards of biotech acquisition


Scottish biotech company and market leader in gene therapy control technologies, Synpromics, has been bought by AskBio, the American pioneer in gene therapeutics. EIS and VCT fund manager Calculus Capital, which has invested £5.6m into the company since 2015, will receive a return on investment that significantly exceeds target returns.


 

The success of the Synpromics sale comes as Calculus, which created the UK’s first approved EIS Fund in 1999, celebrates its 20-year anniversary by unveiling its new Fund in August 2019.

John Glencross, Chief Executive of Calculus Capital, said: “The deal will give Calculus investors an impressive return multiple on their investment. We are proud to deliver such an exceptional level of performance within four years.”

Both AskBio and Synpromics focus on the development of curative gene therapeutics for rare genetic diseases. AskBio’s Adeno-Associated Virus (AAV) gene therapeutics platform combined with Synpromics’ proprietary synthetic promoter technology will provide increased efficacy, safety and control of gene therapeutics. The technology has many applications, including potential for the treatment of conditions such as haemophilia, liver and heart disease.

“We appreciate the role that Calculus has played in our growth trajectory,” said David Venables, CEO of Synpromics. “Without them, we could not have increased R&D, added employees or entered into discussions with AskBio to broaden the impact of our combined technologies.”

Following the acquisition by AskBio, Synpromics, which employs 40 people, will remain headquartered in Edinburgh, where it was founded in 2010.

Calculus Capital co-Head of Investments, Alexander Crawford says: “Synpromics fitted perfectly into the Calculus portfolio. It is led by an extremely impressive management team and has disruptive technology in an area of medicine that is growing rapidly. We are delighted with the entirely complementary acquisition of Synpromics by AskBio. We look forward to the companies together leading gene therapy into the future and in due course improving many patients’ lives.”

Kerry Sharp, Director of the Scottish Investment Bank says: “We have supported Synpromics over a number of years having first invested in the Company in 2013, during which time the business has grown steadily. The acquisition by AskBio represents a strong return on investment for Scottish Enterprise and brings with it opportunities for the growth of Synpromics in Scotland.”

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