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Syncona Combines Gyroscope Therapeutics With Orbit Biomedical

Syncona Ltd (SYNC.L), a healthcare company focused on founding, building and funding global leaders in life science, announced the merger of its companies, Gyroscope Therapeutics, an ophthalmology company developing genetically defined therapies for retinal diseases and Orbit Biomedical, a specialist medical device company focused on precision sub-retinal therapeutic delivery.

Syncona will own 82% of the enlarged company (a holding value of £28.9 million), which will retain the Gyroscope name.

The merged group will be led by newly appointed Chief Executive officer, Khurem Farooq. Khurem most recently held the position of Senior Vice President of the Business Unit Immunology & Ophthalmology at Genentech, where, notably, he was responsible for managing the commercial success of Lucentis and the pre-launch activities for Lampalizumab.

Soraya Bekkali, who has led Gyroscope into the clinic, will continue to lead the research and development organisation as President, Head of R&D, whilst Mike Keane and Susan Hill, who led the founding and launch of Orbit, will become Gyroscope's Chief Technology Officer and Chief Business Officer respectively.

Additionally, Ian Clark, who most recently served as Chief Executive of Genentech, has been appointed as a Non-Executive Director.

Separately, Syncona noted that its portfolio company, Autolus Therapeutics plc, announced the pricing of its underwritten public offering in the United States of 4.20 million American Depositary Shares or "ADSs" representing 4.20 million ordinary shares, at a public offering price of $24 per ADS, for total gross proceeds of approximately $100.8 million. All ADSs sold in the offering were offered by Autolus.

Syncona has agreed to invest $24 million (£18.3 million) in the offering. Following the offering, Syncona retains a stake of 30.4% in Autolus (amounting to 14,592,098 ordinary shares) which was valued at £270.9 million at close of business on 10 April 2019.

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