Arix Bioscience sees value rocket 62% as UK biotech scene booms

Simon Freeman
·2 min read
 (Getty Images/Cultura RF)
(Getty Images/Cultura RF)

BIOTECH backer Arix Bioscience turned shareholder promise into delivery with a 62% increase in net asset value across 2020, its chairman said today.

The venture capital company which invests and builds up cutting-edge life sciences firms saw its market cap rise from £202million in 2019 to £328million last year, lifting the share price from 149p to 242p.

The fund, based in Mayfair, netted £139million from the tax-exempt sale of its stake in VelosBio to Merck US, adding to its warchest for the next wave of investment opportunities.

It said its portfolio has a strong pipeline with a string of trials underway, and Artios announcing a collaboration with Merck Germany to develop precision oncology medicines and the funding of a new portfolio company Twelve Bio working on advanced gene editing technology.

Analysts at Peel Hunt also saw a decision to shutdown investment in Quench Bio after a review of initial pre-clinical work as a signal the fund is prepared to “fail quickly”.

A spokesman for Arix said: “Data generated from Arix’s clinical pipeline will be a key driver of value and while clinical development is not without risk, and the recruitment of clinical trials globally has been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, Arix has several portfolio companies approaching key milestones over the next 12 months.”

Executive chairman Dr Naseem Amin said: "This has been a period of outstanding achievement for our company. We have begun the journey of turning our promises to shareholders into delivery – realising £158m during the year while at the same time refocusing the portfolio, restructuring and reducing our costs and laying the foundation for the next wave of investments.

“The last 12 months have seen Arix’s portfolio continue to mature, passing a number of key milestones.

“We have achieved our first major exit, underlining the validity of our business model. We have also increased our NAV by 62% to £328m, moving us significantly closer to our year-end 2023 NAV target of £500m, that we set out in our 2020 interim results.

“We enter 2021 with strong momentum in our portfolio and with multiple clinical data readouts expected.

“In addition to clinical milestones, there is potential for M&A, strategic partnerships and other financing events across the portfolio, which could significantly increase the value of our companies, and in turn our NAV.”