(Alliance News) - Syncona Ltd on Thursday noted the 2023 results of one of its life science portfolio companies, which showed a widened loss and an increase in annual expenses.

Syncona is a London-based investment company, with a portfolio of companies in the life science sector.

Autolus Therapeutics PLC, a London-headquartered cell therapy developer in which Syncona holds a roughly 12% stake, posted a pretax loss of USD208.4 million in 2023, 40% wider than its 2022 loss of USD148.6 million.

Basic loss per share narrowed 24% to USD1.20 from USD1.57.

As at December 31, the company had USD239.6 million in cash, down 38% from USD382.4 million at the end of 2022.

Operating expenses totalled USD179.7 million, up from USD143.4 million, of which USD130.5 million was expenses relating to research and development.

Syncona said that the increase was due to costs associated with the company's new Nucleus manufacturing facility in Stevenage, England, as well as contractual milestone payments and a decrease in its UK reimbursable R&D tax credits.

In February, Autolus entered a strategic partnership with BioNTech SE, a Mainz, Germany-based immunotherapy company, to collaborate on their late-stage clinical programs.

The deal involves a USD50 million upfront payment from BioNTech and up to USD582 million in potential option exercise and milestone payments.

This gives BioNTech the right to use Autolus' manufacturing capacity to accelerate the development and commercialisation of its BNT211 antitumor treatment. BioNTech will also support the launch of Autolus' obe-cel cell therapy, and receive a royalty on future sales.

Shares in Autolus were down 0.6% at USD5.45 in New York on Thursday.

Syncona shares were up 0.8% at 130.18 pence each in London.

By Hugh Cameron, Alliance News reporter

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