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US Biotech Company Acquires Edinburgh-based Life Sciences Firm

Ross Kelly


Roslin Innovation Centre

AskBio said the Edinburgh company’s extensive experience in cell and gene therapy will “significantly enhance” its own gene therapy platform.

An Edinburgh-based life sciences firm, Synpromics, has been acquired by leading US biotech company AskBio.

Synpromics was founded in 2010 by Dr Michael Roberts to commercialise proprietary and patent-pending technology in the emerging field of synthetic biology.

The firm has developed a data-driven bioinformatics platform, known as PromPT, which assists scientists in developing next-generation cell and gene therapy techniques.

Last year, the company was awarded a £1.9 million grant from Scottish Enterprise to expand its R&D programmes. The firm was also ranked 12th in the Deloitte ‘UK Technology Fast 50’.

Following the acquisition, Synmpromics will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of AskBio and will remain headquartered at the Roslin Innovation Centre, Midlothian.

AskBio, which is based just outside of Raleigh, North Carolina, specialises in the development and delivery of curative gene therapies. The US firm’s Adeno-Associated Virus (AAV)  tech platform helps patients with rare and largely untreatable genetic diseases.

The firm was founded by Jude Samulski, the first scientist to clone the Adeno-Associated Virus, along with Xiao Xiao, who helped pioneer the advancement of gene therapy for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.


Sheila Mikhail, CEO and co-founder of AskBio, said: “With the Synpromics acquisition, we have enhanced our collective ability to develop highly targeted and maximally expressed gene therapies.

“Today, AskBio is better positioned to tackle larger pathway diseases as we continue our efforts to bring curative therapies for rare diseases to patients in need.”

AskBio said the Edinburgh company’s portfolio and extensive experience in cell and gene therapy, as well as human healthcare biomanufacturing, will “significantly enhance” its own AAV gene therapy platform.

Although both companies will operate as separate entities, moving forward the two will share intellectual property and plans are underway to integrate Synpromics’ technology with AskBio’s gene therapy platform.

Dr Roberts said this integration will enable “precision control” in the next generation of gene therapies which both companies currently have in development.

He said: “By combining AskBio’s AAV delivery platform with Synpromics’ gene regulation platform, we have created an unrivalled offering in gene medicine. In particular, integrating our inducible promoter systems into the AskBio platform will enable precision control in the next generation of therapies.”

Ross Kelly

Staff Writer

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