Beacon Therapeutics raises $170 million in a Series B financing

LONDON: Syncona Ltd announced that it has committed $42.5 million (£33.5 million) to a $170 million (£134 million) Series B financing of its portfolio company Beacon Therapeutics, a leading ophthalmic gene therapy company with a purpose to save and restore the vision of patients with blinding retinal diseases.

Forbion led the round and, alongside Syncona, the financing was supported by existing investors Oxford Science Enterprises and the University of Oxford, and new investors TCGX and Advent Life Sciences.

Syncona launched Beacon in 2023, cornerstoning a Series A financing. Beacon was created to pursue an opportunity Syncona identified to apply its domain knowledge in retinal disease to a late-stage clinical asset through the acquisition of AGTC in 2022, which it complemented with a pipeline of pre-clinical programmes to build a leading retinal gene therapy company.

Beacon Therapeutics is focused on both rare and prevalent diseases, including X-linked retinitis pigmentosa (XLRP), a blinding orphan disease for which there is no available treatment and dry age-related macular degeneration (dAMD), a leading cause of irreversible vision loss in people over 60. Beacon’s lead asset, AGTC-501, is currently in a Phase II/III registrational trial for the treatment of XLRP, which is expected to read out in CY2026.

Beacon presented encouraging 12-month efficacy data from the Phase II SKYLINE trial of AGTC-501 during the year, and 24-month data is expected in H2 CY2024.

This latest financing brings the total amount that Beacon has raised in funding to date to approximately $290 million. The funds will be used to support the continued clinical development of AGTC-501 for XLRP and to generate Phase I/II clinical trial data for Beacon’s dAMD programme.

Following the Series B financing, Syncona’s holding in Beacon has been written up by £14.1 million, a 17.6 per cent uplift to the 31 March 2024 valuation of the company. Including £9.6 million of new capital invested since 31 March 2024, Syncona’s holding value of Beacon will be $131.9 million (£104.0 million). In addition, Syncona has an existing £14.4 million of value attributed to a deferred consideration from the prior acquisition of AGTC. On drawdown of the full Series B financing, Syncona’s ownership stake in the business will be 41.4 per cent.

Elisa Petris, Lead Partner at Syncona Investment Management Limited and Board Director of Beacon Therapeutics, said: “Beacon has secured a high-quality syndicate of investors to support the ongoing development of its lead clinical candidate AGTC-501 and broader pipeline. The strength and calibre of this global group of life science investors provides important external validation of Beacon’s technology and progress to date. We have leveraged our expertise and network to support Beacon thus far, from identifying the opportunity to acquire a late-stage asset in AGTC, to supporting this financing today. We look forward to continuing to work closely with the company and our syndicate partners to advance its solutions for debilitating blinding retinal diseases through the clinic and towards patients.”

David Fellows, Chief Executive Officer of Beacon Therapeutics, said: “We are focused on progressing our promising pipeline of ocular gene therapies to save and restore the vision of patients with a range of prevalent and rare retinal diseases that result in blindness. These funds will support the ongoing development of our late-stage and preclinical pipeline and enable acceleration of the development of AGTC-501, as we progress through the clinic and toward commercialisation. We are delighted to extend our strong group of investors and look forward to working with them to ambitiously pursue our strategy.”

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