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$450m diagnostics sale will fuel more Syncona biotech funding

Radiopharmaceuticals firm sold to Braco Imaging

Syncona

Syncona has sold off its innovative diagnostics company Blue Earth Imaging to Bracco Imaging for $450m (£354.3m).

A UK-based life science venture capital firm, Syncona is a 89% shareholder in the Oxford-based diagnostics business, and has become best known in recent years for setting up a string of cell and gene and immunotherapy-focused companies.

The sale of Blue Earth Imaging comes just five years after it was founded under the guidance of Syncona, and includes rights to its first commercialised product.

Axumin (fluciclovine F 18) injection is a US and EU-approved molecular imaging agent approved for use in PET imaging for men with suspected recurrent prostate cancer, and is part of a new generation of targeted diagnostics aimed at improving oncology treatment.

The sale represents a tenfold return for Syncona on its original investment of £35.3m, a profit which it says will help it fuel further investment in more groundbreaking life science companies.

Martin Murphy

Martin Murphy

“Having now grown Blue Earth into a profitable, marketed product company with the foundations for sustainable long-term growth in place, we are delighted that a new strategic owner will continue to develop the business through its next chapter,” said Martin Murphy, CEO of Syncona Investment Management Limited.

“Syncona looks forward to redeploying the proceeds to fund both our growing portfolio companies as they scale and exciting new opportunities as they emerge, ultimately with the goal of bringing more transformational products to patients.”

The sale to Bracco Imaging for $450m (£354.3m) includes a closing adjustment of an estimated $25 million (19.7 million), with Syncona to receive a net amount of £337m. This will help frees up its portfolio for new investments.

Since 31 March 2019, Syncona has invested £64.1min to its portfolio companies, including gene therapy companies Freeline and Gyroscope and immunotherapy biotech Achilles. These are expected to receive the final tranches of already committed funding, with more expected to follow.

Jonathan Allis, D.Phil., chief executive officer, Blue Earth Diagnostics said: “The acquisition of Blue Earth by Bracco Imaging is a validation of the quality of our people, our pipeline of novel diagnostic agents such as rhPSMA and the proven success of Axumin for imaging in prostate cancer and potentially other future indications.

Bracco Imaging has a global footprint, and will help Blue Earth to growth its radiopharmaceuticals business with help from its clinical research and marketing support teams.

Allis added: “We are so proud of our exceptional, patient-focused team for building a successful radiopharmaceuticals business in only five years. We also wish to acknowledge Syncona for its role in the foundation of the company, and its operational and financial acumen as we have built the business.”

Article by
Lucy Parsons

27th June 2019

From: Sales

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