ABOUT US

We are starting with the future, now.

Purespring is already a fully integrated company, created at the outset with all the building blocks in place to move rapidly through clinical validation and to transform the treatment of kidney diseases as rapidly as possible.

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PEOPLE

We have assembled a world-class team with a wealth of experience in developing and manufacturing gene therapies, coupled with a deep understanding of kidney diseases.

We are building on validated, pioneering research from world-renowned renal expert, Professor Moin Saleem and have a strong discovery engine for future pipeline programmes, Funsel, developed by our co-founder and viral vector expert Professor Mauro Giacca.

With a recently completed Series A fundraise of £45m, one of the biggest for a UK university spin-out, and we are well funded to support our ambition.

We are leveraging Syncona’s extensive gene therapy expertise and deep industry insights to tailor our gene therapy approach to the kidney. We are also proactively addressing some of the well documented challenges in gene therapy such as delivery, manufacturing and toxicity.

MANAGEMENT TEAM

Richard Francis.

Chief Executive Officer

Richard Francis is the CEO of Purespring Therapeutics and an operating partner for Syncona.

Prior to his current role, Richard was the CEO of Sandoz, a global leader in generics and biosimilars. He was also a member of the Executive Committee of Novartis Sandoz.

Richard joined Novartis from Biogen Idec, where he was most recently Senior Vice President of US Commercial. Prior to this role and during his 13-year career at the company, he was the Head of Global Strategy and Marketing, Managing Director of Canada, and Managing Director of the UK & Ireland.

From 1998 to 2001, Richard was at Sanofi in the UK and held various marketing roles across the company’s urology, analgesics and cardiovascular products. He also held sales and marketing positions at Lorex Synthelabo and Wyeth.

Richard received a B.A. in Economics from Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK.

Moin Saleem.

Co-founder & Chief Scientific Advisor

Moin Saleem is a founder and adviser to Purespring Therapeutics.

Moin is also Professor of Paediatric Renal Medicine at the University of Bristol and Director of Bristol Renal, a glomerular research group of approximately 45 researchers, covering all areas from cell biology, transgenic models and population cohorts and genetics.

Moin is the originator of the gold-standard human podocyte cell ines, used worldwide for academic and industry research. Moin also set up the UK Renal Rare Disease Registry (RaDaR), and is currently leading the UK nephrotic syndrome study (NephroS), as well as a major industry-academic collaboration termed NURTuRE (National Unified Renal Translational Research Enterprise).

His gene therapy programme commenced in 2014, and is focused on targeting the podocyte in order to radically change the treatment of kidney diseases. Moin trained as an undergraduate at University College, London, and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. His PhD was in transplantation immunology at the Institute of Child Health, London, followed by Paediatric Nephrology training at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London.

Julian Hanak.

Chief Development Officer

Julian is the CDO of Purespring Therapeutics.

Julian has worked in the biotechnology and biopharmaceutical sector for more than 25 years, holding senior leadership positions in small biotech, CDMO and large pharma companies. Julian was previously at Biogen, where he was SVP and the global Head of Gene Therapy Product and Process Development.

Prior to Biogen, Julian was at Nightstar Therapeutics and Cobra Biologics, where he gained extensive gene therapy drug development, manufacturing and business development experience.

Julian also worked at Astra Zeneca and in research at the National Institute for Medical Research (MRC) and Bioproducts Laboratories. Julian graduated as a Biochemist from University College London and completed his Master’s Degree at Bangor University.

Alice Brown.

Chief Scientific Officer

Alice Brown is the CSO of Purespring Therapeutics.

Prior to her current role, Alice was a Senior Director in the department of Cell Therapy Innovation at Takeda Pharmaceuticals following the acquisition by Takeda of GammaDelta Therapeutics at the beginning of this year, where Alice had held the roles of VP Research and, before that, VP Gene Engineering.

At GammaDelta Alice built and lead the research team and was responsible for developing multiple cell therapy programs from discovery through to completion of pre-clinical development. Alice joined GammaDelta from PsiOxus Therapeutics where she was the Director of Biology.

She holds a degree and PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Bristol and carried out her post-doctoral research in Immunology at Imperial College London.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Chris Hollowood.

Chairman of the Board

Chris is the Chief Investment Officer of Syncona Investment Management Ltd.

Chris has been instrumental in the foundation and development of Syncona’s gene therapy strategy and has previously founded companies focused on the eye, the liver and the central nervous system. He is Chairman of Freeline, Gyroscope, SwanBio and Purespring and was also previously Chairman of Nightstar, a retinal gene therapy company founded by Syncona which was sold to Biogen in 2019 for $877 million.

Previously, Chris was a partner of Apposite Capital LLP, a venture and growth capital healthcare investment company. Before Apposite, Chris had roles with Bioscience Managers Ltd, Neptune Investment Management Ltd and in the pharmaceutical industry. Chris holds a degree in Natural Sciences and a PhD in Organic Chemistry, both from the University of Cambridge.

Richard Francis.

Board Director, CEO

Richard Francis is the CEO of Purespring Therapeutics and an operating partner for Syncona.

Prior to his current role, Richard was the CEO of Sandoz, a global leader in generics and biosimilars. He was also a member of the Executive Committee of Novartis Sandoz.

Richard joined Novartis from Biogen Idec, where he was most recently Senior Vice President of US Commercial. Prior to this role and during his 13-year career at the company, he was the Head of Global Strategy and Marketing, Managing Director of Canada, and Managing Director of the UK & Ireland.

From 1998 to 2001, Richard was at Sanofi in the UK and held various marketing roles across the company’s urology, analgesics and cardiovascular products. He also held sales and marketing positions at Lorex Synthelabo and Wyeth.

Richard received a B.A. in Economics from Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK.

Michael Kyriakides.

Board Director

Michael is a Partner of Syncona Investment Management Ltd.

Michael is a Director on the board of Purespring Therapeutics and an Observer to the board of Clade Therapeutics. He also supports Syncona portfolio company Freeline Therapeutics. Prior to joining Syncona, Michael worked in the life science practice of strategy consultancy L.E.K. Consulting in London, UK.

Michael received his Doctorate degree from the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial College London. Michael also holds a Masters in Research in Biomedical Research, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry.

Alice Renard.

Board Observer

Alice is a Partner of Syncona Investment Management Ltd.

Alice is also currently Head of Operations at Purespring Therapeutics and works closely with Syncona portfolio company Anaveon. Alice serves as an Observer on the Board of Purespring and Anaveon.

Prior to joining Syncona, Alice was an Investment Banking Analyst within Barclays’ Healthcare Corporate Finance and M&A team, where she worked on transactions involving pharmaceutical and other healthcare companies. Prior to Barclays, Alice worked briefly at AbbVie and Janssen.

Alice holds a Doctorate degree in Pharmacy from the University of Lille 2 in France. Alice also holds a Masters in International Health Policy & Health Economics from the London School of Economics.

Andrew Wilson.

Board Director

Andrew is a Senior Research Commercialisation Manager at the University of Bristol.

He works with academic colleagues from the University’s Faculty of Health Sciences to facilitate the translation and commercialisation of a range of technologies and healthcare interventions.

This includes licensing and new company creation. Andrew has 20 years’ experience in Technology Transfer roles and is an experienced non-executive director who currently serves on the board of a number of therapeutic, medical device and public health focused spin-out companies.

Moin Saleem.

Board Director, Co-founder & Chief Scientific Advisor

Moin Saleem is a Co-founder & Chief Scientific Advisor to Purespring Therapeutics.

Moin is also Professor of Paediatric Renal Medicine at the University of Bristol and Director of Bristol Renal, a glomerular research group of approximately 45 researchers, covering all areas from cell biology, transgenic models and population cohorts and genetics.

Moin is the originator of the gold-standard human podocyte cell ines, used worldwide for academic and industry research. Moin also set up the UK Renal Rare Disease Registry (RaDaR), and is currently leading the UK nephrotic syndrome study (NephroS), as well as a major industry-academic collaboration termed NURTuRE (National Unified Renal Translational Research Enterprise).

His gene therapy programme commenced in 2014, and is focused on targeting the podocyte in order to radically change the treatment of kidney diseases. Moin trained as an undergraduate at University College, London, and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. His PhD was in transplantation immunology at the Institute of Child Health, London, followed by Paediatric Nephrology training at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London.

Mauro Giacca.

Board Observer and Co-founder

Mauro Giacca is Professor of Cardiovascular Sciences at the School of Cardiovascular Medicine & Sciences, King’s College London.

Mauro is an expert in the development of viral vectors for translational applications, especially in the cardiovascular field. Until 2019, he was the Director-General of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), an organization in the United Nations system based in Italy. Mauro is also a Full Professor of Molecular Biology at the University of Trieste, and was a Professor of Molecular Biology and Director of the Molecular Biology Laboratory at Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, Italy, from 2000 to 2004. Mauro is the President of the International Society for Heart Research (ISHR) European Section and serves on the scientific boards of numerous academic institutions and biotech companies internationally. Since 2021, Mauro is an elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences of the United Kingdom.

Mauro received his Degree in Medicine from the University of Trieste, Italy in 1984 and his PhD in Microbiology and Virology from the University of Genoa, Italy in 1989.

Leading a revolution in the treatment of kidney disease.

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