The founder and CEO of Sensyne Health plc is to leave the Oxford company.
Labour peer Lord Drayson, who founded the company in 2018 to accelerate the role of artificial intelligence in healthcare data and floated it in London that same year, will be replaced as CEO by Alex Snow, who recently stepped down as chairman of AI drug discovery company Exscientia prior to its successful $2.6 billion Nasdaq IPO.
Following recent reports that Sensyne was running out of cash – and may be forced to cease trading within weeks – it has secured additional capital of up to £15 million to continue. Snow will join the business upon completion of this financing deal, expected in the next 10 days, from Gatemore Capital Management LLP, Lansdowne Partners LLP, Sand Grove Capital Management LLP and Peel Hunt LLP.
“Whilst the board believes the financing will proceed to completion shortly, without it the company is unlikely to be able to continue to trade beyond this month,” read a statement to the London Stock Exchange.
It has been proposed to shareholders that Sensyne shares be cancelled from trading on the AIM market, with a ‘highly dilutive’ move of granting conversion rights to the institutional backers.
Shares dived 90% in the first 90 minutes of trading on Friday morning following the news.
The company added that amid developments, it will allow for a sustainable commercial model to be put in place with its NHS Trust partners “that reflect the value of patient data supplied to the company by the Trusts”.
“I am grateful to the noteholders for their continued support in providing this financing, despite the difficulties the business has faced over the past few months,” said chairman Prof Sir Bruce Keogh.
“This financing provides both the certainty of a future for Sensyne as an independent life sciences focused business and the opportunity to conclude the ongoing FSP.
“We will of necessity need to reduce our cost base and propose changes at a future general meeting that will have a significant impact on our shareholders’ interests.
“We are pleased to welcome Alex Snow, whose experience in life sciences AI and capital-raising credentials will be invaluable as he leads Sensyne through the next stage of its development.
“The board wishes to thank Lord Drayson for his tireless commitment to the Company and its aim to realise the potential of clinical AI to revolutionise healthcare in partnership with the NHS and international health systems.
“His vision has set the standard for how healthcare providers like the NHS can benefit from the analysis of health data in a transparent, ethical and fair way.”
Sensyne began a formal sale process in November through financial advisors JP Morgan and Peel Hunt. The latest update reveals that discussions remain ongoing with a small number of parties who may or may not make an offer for the company or some other strategic investment.
In 2015 Snow co-founded Oxford Sciences Innovation Plc (OSI), now called Oxford Science Enterprises, and raised more than £600m to commercialise world-leading science originating at Oxford University.
Prior to OSI, he spent 20 years in investment banking and fund management, including as CEO of Lansdowne Partners UK LLP, a long-standing shareholder in Sensyne, and as founder and CEO of Evolution Group, a UK mid-market investment banking and wealth management group sold to Investec Bank.
“I have been fascinated by the role of data within the healthcare industry for many years, and increasingly see the importance of real-world patient data in this landscape,” he said.
“Sensyne Health has developed significant relationships with meaningful NHS Trusts and has already started to build a first class common data platform for the analysis of multimodal and longitudinal anonymised patient data records, which in recent months has evolved to industrial scale. It also has a first-class team focused on this platform.
“I am looking forward to working with this team and cementing our relationships with our NHS Trust partners as we build out our platform and accelerate our capability to support the life sciences industry in driving value from this real-world patient data.”
Lord Drayson added: “It has been a privilege to build Sensyne Health. I am proud of the team of talented and committed people that work at Sensyne and what we have created together.
“We pioneered a new model for the ethical use of AI and patient data and have proven that it improves outcomes for patients and accelerates medical research.
“Under my leadership the company secured key partnerships with the NHS, US health systems and the life sciences industry, built a database of over 48 million anonymised patient records and won awards for its innovative AI enabled software that has helped care for millions of patients across the UK.
“I am pleased that the company has secured the finance to build on this foundation and that the new CEO and noteholders have committed to maintain the mission and values of the company that I founded. I wish Sensyne Health and its staff every success in the future.”