Axovant Sciences has a valuation of $2.8 billion.
By Raif Karerat
WASHINGTON, DC: A company founded by an Indian American, that hasn’t even existed for one full year, just had the biggest U.S. biotech IPO ever.
Axovant Sciences sold shares at $15 a piece, raising $315 million at a $1.4 billion valuation. Already, the stock is up 90%, giving Axovant a valuation of about $2.8 billion, according to Forbes. It is focused on the development and commercialization of novel therapeutics for the treatment of dementia.
Vivek Ramaswamy, 29, an Indian American, is the former hedge fund manager who is behind Axovant Sciences’ staggering IPO. He previously worked as a partner at Dan Goldâ€™s QVT and made the “Forbes 30 Under 30 in Finance” list in that capacity. He exited the hedge fund firm last year and founded Roivant, and Axovant was formed in October as spin-off of Roivant.
The sole asset that led to Axovant Sciences’ rapid ascent is an experimental Alzheimerâ€™s pill purchased from GlaxoSmithKline in a deal orchestrated by Ramaswamy.
Glaxo will be entitled to additional payments totaling tens of millions of dollars if the drug makes it to market, plus a 12.5 percent royalty on sales, disclosed The New York Times.
In Glaxoâ€™s clinical trials, the drug, which Glaxo called SB-742457, did not work when used by itself. But during an Axovant trial, when it was tested in combination with the widely used drug Aricept, patients getting both drugs had a slower decline in certain measures of cognition and daily functioning than those getting Aricept alone.
â€œWe think we have a great drug candidate,â€ Ramaswamy told Forbes. â€œIf this drug is approved we think itâ€™s going to make a huge difference for a lot of patients and ultimately there is a huge need and a great team here to do it.â€
More than 44 million people around the world are suffering from dementia, according to the Alzheimerâ€™s Disease International. Approximately 34 million people have Alzheimerâ€™s disease. In the United States, 13.8 million people age 65 and older are expected to be affected by the disease by 2050.