Drug Development

Woodford gets slammed with a brutal set of portfolio hits, as Northwest continues to fester

Neil Woodford is finding out the hard way just how difficult it is to set up a new fund with big investments in biopharma. After its asset value plunged about 11%, his summary on H1 2016 notes two unexpected setbacks – key trial failures for Circassia and Alkermes – along with one self-inflicted wound on Northwest Biotherapeutics.

Neil Woodford

Neil Woodford

Northwest has seen its share price dwindle down to a penny stock side show after the company was hit with repeated allegations of self-dealing. Its lead drug program is also evidently in limbo and the biotech’s CEO, Linda Powers, even spurned Woodford’s suggestion for a trusted investigator who could do an independent probe.

Woodford had this to offer: “Northwest Biotherapeutics $NWBO continued to decline during the period as sentiment towards the company remained weak in the absence of any news. We feel we have acted appropriately in raising governance issues at the company and continue to wait for it to inform its shareholders of its actions and developments in due course.”

Woodford’s woes come as the UK also braces for Brexit. He sees no lasting damage to the portfolio, but the country’s scientific community has been groaning over the likely impact on talent and access to research grants after the exit is complete.

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