Innovation & Enterprise


A healthy investment: UCL medical spinouts receive £265 million

11 July 2018

Three UCL spinout companies have received £265 million in investment. This will allow them to continue improving treatments for patients with life-threatening diseases.

UCL medical spinouts receive £265 million

Autolus Therapeutics Ltd, Athena Vision Ltd and Freeline Ltd were spun out by UCL Business PLC (UCLB), part of UCL Innovation & Enterprise. MeiraGTx acquired a majority of Athena Vision in 2015 and the remainder in 2016.

Each company is focused on delivering advanced therapeutics to treat a range of diseases. They received a substantial amount of investment following two initial public offerings and one Series B funding round.

The investments

Autolus Therapeutics Ltd made its debut on the NASDAQ stock market at the end of June, raising $150 million in investment. 

On 12 June, MeiraGTx Holdings plc raised $75 million at the close of its initial public offering on the NASDAQ.

On 18 June, Freeline Therapeutics announced that it had raised over £88 million of new capital in a Series B financing. 

The record investment of £265 million will boost their ability to develop cell, gene and regenerative therapies - helping to improve the lives of patients.

The companies

The three companies are pioneering treatments for cancer, eye, salivary gland and neurodegenerative diseases, and chronic systemic diseases.

Autolus Therapeutics Ltd, pioneered by Dr Martin Pule (UCL Cancer Institute), is committed to bringing life-changing treatments to cancer patients by reprogramming their own T-cells to combat the treatment of haematological malignancies and solid tumours.

Spun out by UCLB in 2014. They received their first boost in funding from UCL Innovation & Enterprise in the same year. More than £12,000 was awarded to Dr Pule, helping to support laboratory work.

MeiraGTx is a clinical stage gene therapy company focusing on developing potentially curative treatments for patients living with serious diseases. 

Freeline Therapeutics was founded by UCLB and Syncona in 2015 to develop and commercialise gene therapies for bleeding and other debilitating disorders. 

MeiraGTx and Freeline have also received investment from the UCL Technology Fund (UCLTF). UCLTF is a £53 million fund established by UCLB and Albion Capital to invest in commercialisable technologies emerging from UCL.

The collaboration

Anne Prener, Chief Executive Officer of Freeline, said: “Freeline is proud to have been spun out of UCL. Going forward, spinouts as well as close collaboration between universities and companies will continue to be important for developing innovative products for patients with devastating diseases.”

Cengiz Tarhan, Managing Director of UCLB, said: “It’s a privilege to help UCL researchers turn their ideas into viable companies with the potential to positively impact our lives. Working with each of these spinouts from conception to date, all those involved across UCL, UCLB and our partner hospitals deserve to be congratulated.”

Dr Celia Caulcott, UCL Vice-Provost (Enterprise), said: “UCL is a power-house of research with the best minds working on the world’s toughest challenges. The successful development of a range of advanced therapeutics is testament to the expertise and vision of our talented researchers and generous support of our partners locally and globally.

“These companies have the potential to significantly improve the lives of many. We’re proud to be able to nurture and support them, alongside other partners, in their mission.”


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