Syncona has launched Purespring to commercialise gene therapies aimed at kidney diseases that are based on work at University of Bristol.

Purespring, a UK-based adeno-associated virus gene therapy developer, was launched by commercialisation firm Syncona today with £45m ($59.5m) in series A financing.

The money is being supplied in tranches and, upon completion of the round, Syncona will own an 84% stake in the company.

Purespring is working on adeno-associated virus gene therapies for chronic renal diseases and an in-vivo screening platform, called FunSel, initially to identify protective factors that may have applications across multiple kidney diseases.

The gene therapies will exploit research by Moin Saleem, professor of paediatric renal medicine at University of Bristol, while the screening platform advances work by Prof Mauro Giacca, who specialises in gene therapy of cardiovascular disorders.

The series A round will allow Purespring to build out its operations and progress to the clinical stage, working closely with Syncona on filling out its operations and management team. Chris Hollowood, chief investment officer of Syncona, has been named as chairman of Purespring, while Dominic Schmidt, a partner at Syncona, will join the board of directors.

Prof 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 have had the foresight to see this potential and partnering with their world-leading gene therapy experience is the best possible springboard to successfully bring this technology to patients.”

Purespring is the sixth gene therapy company to be founded by Syncona since 2012 – previous successes have included retinal diseases-focused, Oxford-linked Nightstar, acquired by Biogen in March 2019, and chronic systemic diseases-focused Freeline, which is based on research at University College London and went public this August.