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4 January, 2022 - 21:54 By Tony Quested

Cambridge claims slice of glory in Novartis swoop for Gyroscope

Cambridge Innovation Capital portfolio company Gyroscope Therapeutics, based in Stevenage, is going great guns in the US. The company accepted a bid worth up to $1.5 billion from Novartis towards the end of 2021.

The $1,5bn has been proffered on a cash and debt free basis with an upfront payment of $800 million and up to $700 million potentially due on the achievement of certain customary milestones related to clinical development, regulatory approvals and reimbursement.

Gyroscope, rooted at Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, was founded in 2016 and has grown to become a global leader in ocular gene therapies – combining discovery, research, drug development, a manufacturing platform and surgical delivery capabilities. 

Gyroscope has evolved into a world leader in ocular gene therapies – combining discovery, research, drug development, a manufacturing platform and surgical delivery capabilities. 

It has almost 200 employees and is executing on its Phase II clinical trials for the treatment of geographic atrophy (GA) secondary to age-related macular degeneration (AMD), having generated positive clinical data in its Phase I/II FOCUS trial.

Novartis has a strong gene therapy expertise and commitment to ophthalmology and boasts an extensive track record in this space. The company says it is ideally placed to complete the journey of taking this transformational therapy to patients.

Khurem Farooq, CEO at Gyroscope, said: “I’m incredibly proud of the progress the Gyroscope team has made in developing what we hope may be the first gene therapy for a leading cause of blindness. 

“Joining forces with Novartis will greatly enhance our ability to deliver on our promise by providing additional expertise and resources to expand our development programme for GT005 and realise the potential of our exciting pipeline.”

Robert Tansley, partner at CIC, spelled out Gyroscope’s Cambridge roots. He said: “The company was supported in part by the academic research and IP generated by the late Cambridge academic, Professor Sir Peter Lachmann – a leading researcher into the complement system. 

“Gyroscope was created by Syncona alongside Cambridge Enterprise as a seed investor. We first backed Gyroscope in its Series A round in February 2019 as a follow-on investor to Cambridge Enterprise Seed Funds as part of our unique collaboration agreement with the University, validating our differentiated strategy of gaining early access to the most innovative companies in the Cambridge ecosystem.”

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