Purespring appoints new Chief Executive Officer

Purespring Therapeutics (Purespring), a kidney-focused AAV gene therapy company, announces that it is intended to appoint Richard Francis as Chief Executive Officer following the completion of its Series A financing of £45.0 million, from 1 February 2021.

Richard is a leading pharmaceutical executive with over 25 years’ experience in building sustainable, world-class life science companies. He most recently held the role of Chief Executive Officer of Sandoz, a division of Novartis. Sandoz is a global leader in generic pharmaceuticals and biosimilars. He was also a member of the Novartis Executive Committee. Richard joined Novartis from Biogen Idec, where he held global and country leadership positions during his 13-year career with the company. He has also worked at Sanofi-Synthelabo and Wyeth where he held various commercial roles.

In addition to his full-time role as Chief Executive of Purespring, Richard will spend part of his time as a Partner at Syncona Investment Management Limited, providing valuable advice and bringing significant commercial and operational expertise across the Syncona portfolio.


Richard Francis, Chief Executive Officer of Purespring Therapeutics, said:

“I am delighted to be joining Purespring at the beginning of this exciting journey and to be building a world class gene therapy company.

I was attracted to Purespring because of the strength of the science and the world-class founding team who are leading experts in the kidney and gene therapy fields. Purespring will be an agile, dynamic company that focuses on building a talented team that truly wants to make a difference to the millions of people suffering from kidney related diseases. I share Syncona’s passion for building sustainable life science companies that can deliver transformational medicines for patients and look forward to working with the team.”


Dominic Schmidt, Partner, Syncona Investment Management Limited, said: 

“At Syncona, we are thrilled to appoint a Chief Executive Officer of Richard’s calibre to operationalise Purespring and build out the organisation. Richard is an extremely accomplished executive with extensive and differentiated experience across the entire value chain. I look forward to working closely with him as we build Purespring into a global leader in renal gene therapy and his broad expertise will be valuable to Syncona as we seek to expand develop our portfolio.”


Purespring been founded around the seminal work of Professor Moin Saleem, Professor of Paediatric Renal Medicine at the University of Bristol, where he heads a world leading group researching glomerular diseases. Purespring will seek to advance gene therapies for the treatment of chronic renal diseases that are currently poorly addressed with existing treatments.

Syncona’s £45.0 million commitment to Purespring will fund the company build-out and will enable it to progress to clinical stage. Syncona’s Chief Investment Officer, Chris Hollowood, has been appointed as Chairman and Syncona Partner Dominic Schmidt has joined the Board of Directors.


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