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Numis: Autolus offers 74% upside for Syncona, Woodford

Numis: Autolus offers 74% upside for Syncona, Woodford


The pricing of Autolus Therapeutics' (AUTL.O) flotation on Nasdaq at the upper end of forecasts is another boost to Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT) and Syncona (SYNC) and - they will hope - the first of more share price increases in the cancer specialist.

Shares in WPCT and Syncona jumped 9% and 5.5% today as the life science focused funds joined an end-of-week UK rally after Autolus priced its shares at the top of its earlier $15-$17 range.

Autolus, which develops blood cancer therapies using CAR-T cells, raised $150 million (£112.9 million) through the offer of 8.8 million shares priced at $17 each.

This a much-needed boost for WPCT investors and fund manager Neil Woodford who have suffered more setbacks than winners in their bid to back British scientific research.

At nearly 82p today the shares remain 18% down on their flotation price three years ago and trade around 7% below net asset value (NAV) to give it a market value of £649 million.

The announcement produces a 51% uplift to the value of its 15.9% stake in Autolus to $104.7 million and adds 3.2p to the NAV per share that will be published on Monday.

By contrast, this is the latest in string of positive news for Syncona, whose shares have soared 45% in the past year and stand at a heady 32% premium over NAV to give it a market capitalisation of nearly £1.5 billion.

The initial public offer (IPO) of Autolus raises the value of its stake by £69.6 million, an 80% increase on its previous valuation of £86.7 million. This adds 6.5% to net assets and lifts NAV per share by 10.5p per share.

It has invested a further £18.1 million ($24 million) to keep its holding at 33.8% of the company, it founded in September 2014, backing technologies developed at University College London by Dr Martin Pule. 

More to come 

While the IPO spells good news for both investment trusts, Syncona's joint broker, Numis Securities, points to further signficant upside in the share price.

Analysts from its life sciences team believe Autolus' products have strong prospects and have forecast a mid-range valuation of $930 million (£700 million), which is 74% more than its new stock market valuation of $534 million (£402 million).

Numis’s valuation is forward-looking, factoring in the potential progress of its product range – some of which are at the clinical trial stage.

‘Autolus is expected to report initial clinical data from three clinical trials (AUTO2 in Multiple Myeloma and AUTO3 in the paediatric ALL and adult DLBCL) in the next 12 months, with AUTO4 expected to enter the clinic,’ analysts at Numis explained.


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