Roivant Sciences Raises $200 Million, Bringing Its Valuation to $7 Billion
Roivant indicates that the new investors, which includes NovaQuest Capital Management, RTW Investments, and other large institutional asset managers, make up the majority of the round. All existing institutional shareholders also participated.
The round brings the total of money raised from all sources to more than $3 billion. The financing gives Roivant a market value of about $7 billion.
That’s quite high, considering none of the companies has a product on the market. However, 2019 will be a dramatic year with at least six late-stage readouts scheduled. And at least one of the Roivant companies, Datavant, has begun to generate revenue. Datavant is focused on organizing healthcare data, which can be used in clinical trials and drug applications, as well as healthcare analytics.
Most recently, Datavant partnered with PAREXEL International to improve clinical study design and operations. Parexel is a contract research organization (CRO) that conducts clinical trials on behalf of biopharmaceutical companies.
Overall, Roivant has 34 therapies in development with 750 employees across all its companies. In July, Enzyvant, which focuses on rare diseases, initiated a rolling submission of a Biologics License Application (BLA) for RVT-802 to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It expects to complete the BLA by the end of this year.
RVT-802 is a tissue-based regenerative therapy for the primary immune deficiency caused by congenital athymia associated with complete DiGeorge Anomaly (cDGA). cDGA is always fatal if untreated, with death generally occurring in the first 24 months of life because of susceptibility to infection.
In the beginning, Ramaswamy’s business model, which is at least partly built on his personal charisma, was to acquire a mid- to late-stage asset at a low price from companies that were abandoning it, either because it failed in clinical trials, or because it no longer met the priorities of those companies. Now, the business model has evolved to take a broader approach, with aims to build an integrated healthcare company through a unique decentralized business model akin to Alphabet, a company spokesperson told BioSpace today.
This strategy has so far had at least one spectacular failure. Axovant Sciences acquired intepirdine from GlaxoSmithKline for $5 million. The drug had a favorable safety and tolerability profile, and in a Phase IIb clinical trial, showed immediate sustained efficacy over placebo in Alzheimer’s disease. But the drug had been abandoned by GSK after four failed clinical trials. Ramaswamy felt they could revitalize the drug in a narrower patient population.
The Phase III MINDSET clinical trial evaluated 1,315 patients on a stable background therapy of Aricept (donepezil) who then received either intepirdine or a placebo. In the trial, the drug failed to meet its co-primary efficacy endpoints. The company stated there was “essentially no difference between the intepirdine and placebo arms in change from baseline in activities of daily living.”
Although some investors apparently are bitter about the Axovant failure, others appear to like the fact that Roivant and the various Vants move quickly into late-stage trials. Investors in early-stage development biotech startups can sometimes wait up to a decade just to get to that point.
Roivant has a similar valuation to Moderna Therapeutics—neither has products on the market but have several products in late-stage trials. Moderna focuses on mRNA therapeutics, often in the areas of infectious diseases. Moderna recently announced it planned an initial public offering to raise $500 million. This was only nine months after its most recent equity round, which also raised $500 million.