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Sensyne Health shares collapse on emergency fundraising

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Former science minister Lord Paul Drayson - The Telegraph
Former science minister Lord Paul Drayson - The Telegraph

Shares in a healthcare company led by a former Labour science minister collapsed on Friday after it announced an emergency fundraising to stave off imminent collapse.

Sensyne Health, whose chief executive is Lord Drayson, put itself up for sale in November but has now agreed a £6.4m loan from institutional shareholders.

Those investors indicated they could provide a further £5m if required. Sensyne said it was also chasing a "substantial debtor" for funds.

The fundraising announcement sent shares down 70pc to 22.8p, valuing the company at £37m.

Without the cash Sensyne said it was "unlikely to be able to continue to trade beyond early February".

The Oxford-based company uses artificial intelligence to analyse anonymised patient data and discover new medicines. It has a deal to use about 22.5m medical records.

JP Morgan and Peel Hunt have been working on finding a buyer and a management buyout is also being considered.

Sensyne said there was no certainty an offer would be made for the company.

The Aim-listed business was fined £406,000 last year for breaching rules relating to bonus payments after its 2018 float.

Sensyne handed cash bonuses to Lord Drayson and then-finance chief Lorimer Headley three months after the listing. They received £850,000 and £200,000 respectively as "post-IPO bonuses" for the successful debut.

However, the company failed to outline any plans for bonuses in the documents outlining the listing.

The London Stock Exchange said the bonuses were described "in such a way as to give the impression the award of the bonuses was a proposal that was not yet finalised".

Peel Hunt advised against the payments. However, Sensyne said it "would not pursue further discussion" and that disclosure of the bonuses would be made with its annual report 10 months later, in the hope that strong trading and results would justify such awards.

Sensyne said at the time that it "both acknowledges and reiterates its apology for its failure to properly understand and meet its Aim disclosure obligations".

Lord Drayson is an engineer and entrepreneur with more than 25 years of experience in founding and leading companies in food manufacturing, bioscience and motorsport research and development. He was minister for science and innovation between 2008 and 2010.

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