Floating in stormy seas, RTW seeks $350M for new London-listed venture fund
Swimming against some turbulent waters in the UK public markets, RTW Investments has outlined a plan to raise $350 million by listing a venture fund on the London Stock Exchange.
New York-based RTW counts six seed assets and $145.5 million in net asset value in the new fund, having recently raised $118 million from 92 private investors. Roderick Wong, managing partner and chief investment officer, contributed $25 million of his own money.
“As an investor committed to supporting companies developing transformational therapies for over fifteen years, I have never seen the opportunity set as exciting as it is today,” Wong said in a filing. “We are at the dawn of life sciences innovation and I am excited to have the privilege to support companies that have the potential to impact lives.”
This effort puts RTW shoulder-to-shoulder with Syncona and Neil Woodford’s embattled Patient Capital Trust, closed-ended investment companies that give public investors access to (mostly private) startups.
It also marks the latest unconventional investing idea from Wong, who led the recent effort to take Vivek Ramaswamy’s Immunovant public via a merger with a blank check company created by RTW.
Most of their current and planned holdings are US-based biotechs, with the exception of Oxford spinout Immunocore (which also has operations in Pennsylvania) and a Chinese newco in the pipeline. The full list, with their respective valuations:
- Beta Bionics ($5.0 million): insulin delivery system
- Frequency $FREQ ($2.9 million): small molecule drugs for hearing loss
- Immunocore ($5.0 million): T cell receptor therapies
- Landos ($5.0 million): Oral drugs for inflammatory bowel disease and autoimmune conditions
- Orchestra ($2.5 million): Sirolimus eluting balloon for coronary and peripheral arterial disease
- Rocket $RCKT ($34.2 million): Gene therapy
- Avidity (planned; up to $7.5 million): Rare muscle disorders
- China NewCo (planned; $5-10 million): Distributing US/Europe drugs in China
Moving forward, the company will bet on opportunities across geographies and therapeutic areas, dedicating 80% to biopharma and 20% to medtech. Each initial investment would amount to somewhere around 5% to 10% of RTW Venture Fund’s gross assets, it wrote in the filing.
To start, it plans to deploy around one-third of its capital toward company formations or early-stage entities, with the other two-thirds going to mid- and late-stage ventures.
In the filing, RTW boasted its track record of managing over $2.1 billion and “its long-term focus and a science-driven, fundamental approach to investing.”
“The Investment Manager has invested in 28 private companies to date, and increasingly has been selected to lead transactions, leading six of the 12 transactions closed in 2018 and four of the nine transactions closed in 2019,” it wrote.