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Baillie Gifford co-leads $110m financing deal for gene therapy developer Orchard Therapeutics

Baillie Gifford co-leads $110m financing deal for gene therapy developer Orchard Therapeutics

Edinburgh-based fund manager Baillie Gifford is continuing its foray into biotech investing, by co-leading a large $110m (£85m) Series B venture deal for Orchard Therapeutics, a Anglo-US company working on gene therapies for rare disorders. The specific Baillie Gifford-managed funds that have provided the investment have not yet been disclosed, but it seems likely that the Orchard shares will be allocated to those that already offer some biotech exposure such as Edinburgh Worldwide Investment Trust EWI or Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust SMT.

The Orchard-deal was co-lead with ORI Capita, and included significant new investments from Temasek (Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund) and Cowen Healthcare Investments, alongside Juda Capital, Pavilion Capital, RTW Investments, Agent Capital, 4BIO Capital and existing investors F-Prime Capital and UCL Technology Fund. The proceeds of the round will be used to progress Orchard’s pipeline, including its lead product, OTL-101, an autologous ex-vivo lentiviral gene therapy for adenosine deaminase severe combined immunodeficiency (ADA-SCID), also known as the “boy in the bubble” disease.  This is the same indication for which GlaxoSmithkline’s Strimvelis won an EU approval in 2016, and could see Orchard potentially fighting over a population of somewhere between one in 200,000 and one in a million live births. Orchard’s pipeline also includes other clinical and preclinical stage transformative gene therapies for immune deficiencies, including X-linked chronic granulomatous disease (X-CGD) and metabolic diseases, including MPS-IIIA and MPS-IIIB (Sanfilippo syndrome type A and type B).

Orchard works in partnership with some of the world’s leading centres in gene therapy, including University College London, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust, the University of Manchester and Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the University of California Los Angeles and Boston Children’s Hospital.

Edinburgh Worldwide’s largest investment and one of its strongest performers this year is Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (5.8% of NAV); other biotechs in the portfolio include Galapagos, Celectis, Exact Sciences  and Morphosys.  Scottish Mortgage reaped a benefit from the recent IPO of  Denali Therapeutics, a US-based biotech in which it invested in 2016. Baillie Gifford was the lead investors in Denali’s $130m Series B financing round, investing c£20m on behalf of SMT at the equivalent of $4/share.  In the company’s IPO, the shares were offered at $18 and rose by 19% on the first day of trading to over $21/share, although have since come back to around $15.

EWI SMT : Baillie Gifford co-leads $110m financing deal for gene therapy developer Orchard Therapeutics

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