In­vestors could emerge from Neil Wood­ford de­ba­cle with £1B loss, in­ter­nal analy­sis re­veals

When Link Fund So­lu­tions an­nounced that it is clos­ing Wood­ford Eq­ui­ty In­come Fund per­ma­nent­ly and kick­ing out Neil Wood­ford, it was im­plied that in­vestors prob­a­bly won’t get back every­thing they en­trust­ed to the fund man­ag­er. But no­body knew just how much they would lose.

An in­ter­nal analy­sis com­mis­sioned by Link sug­gest­ed that the col­lec­tive loss could amount to £1 bil­lion — out of a fund last val­ued at £3.1 bil­lion — City­wire has re­vealed.

The cal­cu­la­tions were made by bou­tique in­vest­ment bank­ing firm PJT Park Hill, which has been re­tained to sell off the fund’s “less eas­i­ly sold as­sets” while Black Rock takes charge of the liq­uid hold­ings. In the worst-case sce­nario, in­vestors could be see­ing 43% of their re­main­ing cash evap­o­rate.

They re­port­ed­ly crunched the num­bers in Oc­to­ber be­fore Link in­formed in­vestors that the fund won’t re­open — al­most as abrupt­ly as when Wood­ford sus­pend­ed his flag­ship fund in June.

Wood­ford called the de­ci­sion “one I can­not ac­cept, nor be­lieve is in the long-term in­ter­ests [of in­vestors],” hav­ing worked for weeks scout­ing buy­ers who would pay de­cent amounts of cash to take cer­tain as­sets off his hands. The stat­ed goal was al­ways to swap out pri­vate, illiq­uid hold­ings for pub­lic stocks and be ready to meet po­ten­tial re­demp­tions once the fund opens up in De­cem­ber.

If they pre­vailed, Wood­ford’s team was con­fi­dent that in­vestors on­ly need to write off 9% of their re­main­ing in­vest­ments, ac­cord­ing to their own es­ti­mates.

But it’s un­clear how many of the 300,000 dis­grun­tled clients they ex­pect to keep af­ter in­vestors com­plained about be­ing blind­sided by the ini­tial sus­pen­sion and hav­ing to con­tin­ue to pay man­age­ment fees.

“Fol­low­ing the sus­pen­sion, in­suf­fi­cient progress on the repo­si­tion­ing of the fund meant there was not rea­son­able cer­tain­ty when this repo­si­tion­ing would be ful­ly achieved and LFS there­fore con­clud­ed that it is in the best in­ter­ests of all in­vestors for the Fund to be wound up on the ba­sis of an ‘or­der­ly re­al­i­sa­tion’ of the fund’s as­sets,” Link told the Guardian. “This in­volves the sale of the fund’s as­sets over a rea­son­able pe­ri­od of time – the aim is to avoid a fire sale, bal­anc­ing the need to gen­er­ate liq­uid­i­ty and the need to se­cure a rea­son­able val­ue for the as­sets.”

Link, the au­tho­rized cor­po­rate di­rec­tor of the Wood­ford Eq­ui­ty In­come Fund, ex­pects to shell out the first cash in­stall­ment to in­vestors by the end of Jan­u­ary.

Mean­while it’s al­so fig­ur­ing out what to do with a sec­ond fund — Wood­ford In­come Fo­cus Fund — af­ter al­so freez­ing that fund last month. Fol­low­ing Wood­ford’s res­ig­na­tion, Link wor­ried that it may not be able to meet a flood of re­demp­tion re­quests.

For now, Link is fa­vor­ing two op­tions:

(a) the ap­point­ment of an al­ter­na­tive in­vest­ment man­ag­er to re­place Wood­ford, with us con­tin­u­ing to act as the Fund’s ACD; or

(b) trans­fer­ring the Fund’s as­sets in­to an­oth­er UCITS fund in ex­change for in­vestors re­ceiv­ing shares in that fund through a scheme of arrange­ment.

Tillman Gerngross, Adagio Therapeutics CEO

An­ti­body leg­end Till­man Gern­gross is el­bow­ing his way in­to the Covid-19 R&D cru­sade: 'I don’t see this end­ing any­time soon'

One of the most influential — and outspoken — scientists at work in the field of antibody discovery is jumping into the frenzied race to create new therapeutics to treat and prevent Covid-19. And he’s operating with the conviction that the current outbreak now once again spreading like wildfire will create plenty of demand for what he has in mind.

Dartmouth professor and Adimab CEO Tillman Gerngross tells me he’s raised $50 million from a group of close VCs to spin out a new company — Adagio Therapeutics — with a full C-suite team assembled to hire up a staff and keep rolling toward the clinic.

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Tal Zaks, Moderna CMO (Moderna via YouTube)

UP­DAT­ED: NI­AID and Mod­er­na spell out a 'ro­bust' im­mune re­sponse in PhI coro­n­avirus vac­cine test — but big ques­tions re­main to be an­swered

The NIAID and Moderna have spelled out positive Phase I safety and efficacy data for their Covid-19 vaccine mRNA-1273 — highlighting the first full, clear sketch of evidence that back-to-back jabs at the dose selected for Phase III routinely produced a swarm of antibodies to the virus that exceeded levels seen in convalescent patients — typically in multiples indicating a protective response.

Moderna execs say plainly that this first stage of research produced exactly the kind of efficacy they hoped to see in humans, with a manageable safety profile.

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Trans­port Sim­u­la­tion Test­ing for Your Ther­a­py is the Best Way to As­sure FDA Ex­pe­dit­ed Pro­gram Ap­proval

Modality Solutions is an ISO:9001-registered biopharmaceutical cold chain engineering firm with unique transport simulation capabilities that support accelerated regulatory approval for biologics and advanced therapeutic medicinal products (ATMP). Our expertise combines traditional validation engineering approaches with regulatory knowledge into a methodology tailored for the life sciences industry. We provide insight and execution for the challenges faced in your cold chain logistics network.

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After spending 4 years in a senior post with GlaxoSmithKline’s star team positioning Shingrix for a blockbuster approval, Guillaume Pfefer is headed back to the biotech world — in style.

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As a neurosurgeon, David Andrews knew there wasn’t much he could do for his glioma patients after resecting — rarely fully — their tumor. Even with the best treatment and care available, median overall survival is just somewhere between 14 and 16 months.

Then in the 1990s, his mentor at Thomas Jefferson University introduced him to Renato Baserga, a pathologist who had been studying the effect of using antisense oligonucleotide to knock out the insulin-like growth factor type 1 receptor in cancers. As IGF-R1 drives tumor growth and metastasis, the preclinical reasoning went, implanting a molecule targeting the receptor together with the tumor material near lymph nodes can slow down the spread of the cancer.

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Mer­ck KGaA takes its I/O op­tion on F-star Ther­a­peu­tics; Nephron spends $215M, eye­ing spot in Covid-19 vac­cine chain

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Any biotech going public these days wouldn’t feel right if they didn’t upsize the offering. And that’s just what Phase I biotech Pandion Therapeutics did. The autoimmune company is now selling 7 million shares, a 1.5 million share bump, for $16 to $18 a share.

Full Bril­in­ta study re­sults show the blood thin­ner re­duces rate of sec­ondary stroke

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The pharma released full details from its THALES study Thursday morning, which measured the effects of Brilinta and aspirin against aspirin alone in treating patients who had an acute ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack. When taken twice daily with once-a-day aspirin for 30 days, the Brilinta combo reduced the risk of stroke and death by 17 percent, meeting the primary endpoint of the study.

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Back during his long, blockbuster run as head of R&D at Gilead, researchers had once held some high hopes for this drug. But to make it work, he and the team felt it would need a new companion diagnostic to identify patients. There was talk of a combo approach to give it more punch. But the market was small, making them wonder if it would be worth going through a lengthy development cycle to get it through a pivotal.

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New biotech Exalys, seek­ing to pre­vent post­op­er­a­tive delir­i­um, launch­es with $15 mil­lion in Se­ries A

An old group of former colleagues will be reuniting to lead a new biotech venture aimed at cultivating a portfolio to treat neuroinflammatory disorders.

Led by Rick Orr, who ran the biotech Adynxx, the group is launching the startup Exalys on Thursday with $15 million in Series A funding from venture firms Catalys Pacific and Domain Associates. The nascent company’s first project will focus on preventing postoperative delirium, licensing a platform of EP4 receptors from Japanese pharma Eisai.