Synpromics deal significantly exceeds target returns for Calculus investors

Scottish biotech company, and the 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 first invested in Synpromics in 2015 and invested £5.6m into the company in total, 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: “While the financial terms of the acquisition are undisclosed, 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. The deal is further enhanced by the potential to benefit from future licensing fees on the company’s existing portfolio of licences.”

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 moving forward. Synpromics’ synthetic promoter technology has wide 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 Calculus, 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 Capital 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.”

John Glencross added: “Synpromics is an amazing company and the possibilities to help millions of people with genetic disease are only enhanced by these two great companies now working together.  I would like to wish Synpromics all the best for what I am sure will be an exciting future ahead.”

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.  We look forward to building a strong, strategic relationship with AskBio to support its business in Scotland.”

Investors will be communicated to next week.