There’s new hope for millions worldwide from University of Bristol’s kidney gene therapy spin-out.

The challenge

Over two million people worldwide currently rely on dialysis or a kidney transplant to stay alive, yet that’s only a fraction of those who need kidney treatment to live. Chronic kidney diseases have trailed behind cancer and heart disease in terms of innovative treatment, but that’s about to change with a major investment from Healthcare company Syncona Ltd in the University of Bristol’s groundbreaking kidney gene therapy technology.

Syncona have funded a spin-out company based on the pioneering gene therapy research led by Professor Moin Saleem, Professor of Paediatric Renal Medicine at Bristol Medical School. Professor Saleem’s work is the only study to date to have successfully demonstrated disease rescue in animal models using this technique for a kidney disorder called nephrotic syndrome.

Our support

We advised the University of Bristol on their spin-out, helping them close the £45m funding deal with Syncona. As with most deals of this magnitude there were some complexities, but we were able to produce a solution that satisfied all parties.

Syncona’s investment has launched Purespring Therapeutics as the spin-out company to progress this innovative approach to treating renal conditions. Purespring is one of the first AAV (adeno associated virus) gene therapy companies to focus on kidney diseases, offering a practical and promising alternative to drugs or surgery.

Making great things happen

Purespring will develop gene therapies directly targeting the glomerulus in the kidney, with the potential to roll-out treatments to patients in three or four years. Professor John Iredale, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Health and Life Sciences at the University of Bristol, said: “Syncona’s expertise in gene therapy and their landmark investment in Purespring marks an exciting new venture to progress Bristol’s breakthrough discoveries in the treatment of kidney diseases. Purespring’s gene therapy platform has enormous potential to improve outcomes in patients with kidney diseases and is a major leap forward for renal therapeutics globally.”

Professor Moin Saleem said: “This is an incredible opportunity to develop transformational treatments for kidney disease. Gene therapy has come of age in certain areas, but a major challenge in complex solid organs is to precisely target the genetic material to the correct cell type. Using accumulated expertise in the Bristol Renal research group we have solved this crucial hurdle, putting us in a position to deliver curative gene therapy to patients with chronic and intractable kidney diseases. Syncona’s world-leading gene therapy experience is the best possible springboard to successfully bring this technology to patients.”

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