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Thursday 27 June, 2019

Syncona Limited

Sale of Blue Earth Diagnostics to Bracco Imaging

RNS Number : 6161D
Syncona Limited
27 June 2019

Syncona Limited

Sale of Blue Earth Diagnostics to Bracco Imaging

27 June 2019

·      Blue Earth Diagnostics has agreed to be acquired by Bracco Imaging for $450 million (£354.3 million)[1] plus closing adjustment estimated at $25 million (£19.7 million)[2]  


·      Syncona will receive net proceeds of £337 million[3] for its 89 per cent holding; a 10.0x multiple, including prior distributions,[4] on original investment of £35.3 million and an internal rate of return (IRR) of 87 per cent[5]


·      These proceeds represent an uplift of £69.8 million (10.4p per share) to Syncona's holding value of £267.5 million[6]


Syncona Ltd today announces that it has reached an agreement to sell its portfolio company Blue Earth Diagnostics ("Blue Earth") to Bracco Imaging, a global leader in diagnostic imaging for $450 million (£354.3 million) plus closing adjustment estimated at $25 million (£19.7 million). The sale delivers a 10.0x multiple, including prior distributions, on invested capital for Syncona.

Blue Earth is a leader in the radio-diagnostic space. As a commercial stage company which launched Axumin, the standard of care for the diagnosis of recurrent prostate cancer patients in the USA, Blue Earth demonstrates the benefits of Syncona's long-term approach to founding, building, and funding companies developing transformational products for patients. Since foundation in 2014, the business has successfully completed phase 3 clinical development, secured its first product approval, delivered a successful commercial launch, achieved profitability and acquired a second asset to embed its leadership in the prostate imaging space. More than 50,000 patients have been dosed with Axumin since its launch in 2017 enabling physicians to diagnose patients with recurrent prostate cancer more effectively. Blue Earth will now progress to a new strategic owner in the diagnostic imaging field for the next stage of its growth.

The sale of Blue Earth will generate £337 million of net proceeds, further strengthening Syncona's strategic capital pool and enhancing its ability to build and fund its portfolio companies to succeed over the long term. These companies are scaling rapidly, with a number of significant financings anticipated in the current financial year. In particular, Freeline, Gyroscope and Achilles have recently received the final tranches of previously committed funding and are expected to conduct new financings. Since 31 March 2019, Syncona has deployed £64.1 million[7] of capital into its portfolio companies and will continue to fund them ambitiously as the companies scale to capitalise on the opportunities available to them, subject to its disciplined approach to the allocation of capital across the portfolio.


Martin Murphy, Chief Executive Officer of Syncona Investment Management Limited, said, "Blue Earth clearly demonstrates the success of Syncona's strategy to found, build and fund innovative companies. In the five years since we founded the business alongside Jonathan Allis and his team, we have successfully delivered a high impact product which is transforming how patients with recurrent prostate cancer are managed, having been used in over 50,000 patients. We are proud of this landmark achievement, which is testament to the utility of the product and the exceptional work of the Blue Earth and Syncona teams.


"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. 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."


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. We believe this acquisition is excellent for Blue Earth, as Bracco Imaging's global footprint and clinical research and marketing support will enable us to expand the reach of our high-value platform of innovative radiopharmaceuticals to inform clinical management and guide care for even more people with cancer around the world. 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."


Closing of the sale is conditional upon, among other customary closing conditions, the expiration or termination of any applicable waiting periods under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act. Closing is expected to occur in the third quarter of calendar year 2019.




Syncona Ltd

Siobhan Weaver / Annabel Clay  

Tel: +44 (0) 20 3981 7940


FTI Consulting

Brett Pollard / Ben Atwell / Natalie Garland-Collins

Tel: +44 (0) 20 3727 1000


This announcement includes information that is inside information as defined in Article 7 of the Market Abuse Regulation (EU) No.596/2014. The person responsible for arranging for the release of this announcement on behalf of Syncona Ltd is Andrew Cossar, General Counsel, SIML.

Copies of this press release and other corporate information can be found on the company website at:  

About Syncona

Syncona is a leading FTSE250 healthcare company focused on founding, building and funding global leaders in life science. Our vision is to deliver transformational treatments to patients in truly innovative areas of healthcare while generating superior returns for shareholders.

We seek to partner with the best, brightest and most ambitious minds in science to build globally competitive businesses.

We take a long-term view, underpinned by a deep pool of capital, and are established leaders in gene and cell therapy. We focus on delivering dramatic efficacy for patients in areas of high unmet need.

About Blue Earth Diagnostics


Blue Earth Diagnostics is a leading molecular imaging diagnostics company focused on the development and commercialization of novel PET imaging agents to inform clinical management and guide care for cancer patients in areas of unmet medical need. Formed in 2014, Blue Earth Diagnostics is led by recognized experts in the clinical development and commercialization of innovative nuclear medicine products. The company's first approved and commercially available product is Axumin® (fluciclovine F 18), a novel molecular imaging agent approved in the United States and European Union for use in PET imaging to detect and localize prostate cancer in men with a diagnosis of biochemical recurrence. The company's pipeline includes Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA)-targeted radiohybrid ("rh") agents. rhPSMA is a clinical-stage, investigational class of theranostic compounds, with potential applications in both the imaging and treatment of prostate cancer.

About Bracco Imaging


Bracco Imaging S.p.A., part of the Bracco Group, is one of the world's leading companies in the diagnostic imaging business with 2018 revenues exceeding €1 billion. Headquartered in Milan, Italy, Bracco Imaging develops, manufactures and markets diagnostic imaging agents and solutions.

Bracco Imaging offers a product and solution portfolio for all key diagnostic imaging modalities: X-ray Imaging (including Computed Tomography-CT, Interventional Radiology, and Cardiac Catheterization), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Contrast Enhanced Ultrasound (CEUS), and Nuclear Medicine through radioactive tracers. The diagnostic imaging portfolio is completed by a range of medical devices and advanced administration systems for contrast imaging products.

The Company operates in over 100 markets worldwide, either directly or indirectly, through subsidiaries, joint ventures, licenses and distribution partnership agreements. Bracco Imaging has a strong presence in key geographies: North America, China, Europe, Japan, Brazil, Mexico and South Korea. To learn more about Bracco Imaging, visit


[1] Foreign exchange rates at 26 June 2019

[2] As per footnote 1

[3] Including equity shares, repayment of preference shares and accumulated dividends; final proceeds are subject to minor adjustments ahead of closing

[4] £14.2m distribution in 2019 financial year

[5] Including the £14.2m distribution in 2019 financial year, FX rates as at 26 June 2019, assuming closing August 2019; Syncona Partners original cost.

[6] As at 31 March 2019

[7] At 26 June 2019

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