Roivant Sciences, the parent company of the “Vant” family of biotechs, has secured a massive $1.1 billion investment.
The equity investment, one of the biggest private financings for a biotech company, was led by SoftBank Vision Fund with help from the Dexxon investor group, looking to “fuel creation of new subsidiaries within and beyond biopharmaceutical development, including new technology-enabled ‘Vants’.”
Roivant’s business works through its subsidiary Vants, such as Axovant (neurology), Myovant (women’s health and endocrine diseases), Dermavant (dermatology), Enzyvant (rare diseases), and Urovant (urology).
So-called Datavant, a new tech-focused subsidiary, will be the first in the Roivant family to work outside of biotech, as it “aims to dissolve barriers between siloed healthcare data sets in order to unlock novel insights and reduce the time and cost of delivering innovative medicines to patients,” according to the company.
More details on the life sciences side were not given in the release.
“We are pleased to welcome the SoftBank Vision Fund as a new investor in Roivant, and we are grateful for the continued support of our existing shareholders,” said Vivek Ramaswamy, founder and CEO of Roivant.
“Roivant has attracted world-class talent in its pursuit of developing and commercializing drugs that target large unmet medical needs,” added Akshay Naheta, managing director of SoftBank Group International.
“We are impressed with the ambition and track record of the Roivant team and look forward to supporting them in the next step of their journey, as they look to effectively harness technology and leverage big data across all aspects of their business.”
“Roivant has come a very long way in a relatively short period of time,” said Dan Oren, president and CEO of Dexcel Pharma, a member of the Dexxon investor group, which is both an initial investor in Roivant and a participant in this financing. “Since 2014 they have formed a diverse array of companies with many promising therapies in development. We supported Roivant at the very beginning and we continue to support them as they scale their operations and pursue new opportunities.”
In June, Roivant launched its latest biotech company, Urovant, with phase 3 Merck med vibegron, an oral β3-adrenergic agonist in testing for overactive bladder with symptoms of urge urinary incontinence, urgency, and urinary frequency.
Roivant itself is working on a number of therapeutic areas such as rare diseases, oncology and neurology, and has a history of tie-ups, having formed partnerships with Takeda, Eisai and GlaxoSmithKline, to name but a few.
It’s also become a master of the spinoff game, having successfully launched Axovant Sciences (formerly Roivant Neurosciences) a few years ago and helped with its huge $315 million IPO, masterminded by the company’s young former hedge fund manager Ramaswamy. Another spinoff, called Myovant and created in conjunction with Takeda, is also in the mix.
Last July, Roivant and Plexcera Therapeutics also launched another new biotech with a singular focus on the ultrarare condition known as Farber disease. The biotech, Enzyvant Sciences, is currently finishing preclinical studies in recombinant human acid ceramidase, an enzyme replacement therapy for patients with Farber disease.
By Ben Adams
Source: Fierce Biotech
Big Pharma has long seen the potential for AI and machine learning to accelerate drug development. But Novo Nordisk is going a step further by channeling $200 million toward the creation of a computer that will outrun anything in existence.
Current methods for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease rely on a complex combination of self- and caregiver-reported symptoms, a physical examination and either a PET scan or a spinal tap to look for evidence of amyloid plaque build-ups in the brain. But a new artificial intelligence-based method may make the diagnostic process a much more objective one.
There is lots of talk about diversity and inclusion in business, including in pharma and medtech. A new report by the Open Political Economy Network (OPEN), a think tank focusing on migration and diversity, released its “Minority Businesses Matter: Europe” report highlighting the successes and challenges of ethnic minority-owned businesses in Europe.