Prothena drags WPCT to bottom of performance league table in April
The fall in the value of its large investment in Prothena on negative results from two late-stage trials last month had a predictable effect on Woodford Patient Capital (WPCT)’s performance among the biotech-specialist closed end funds this year, although its relative underperformance extends over longer periods as well. WPCT ranked as the poorest performing trust among the 13 monitored by Marten & Co for NAV in April and the year to date period, while it terms of price came out bottom in April and in twelfth place over the first four months of the year.
However, the recent private financings for WPCT’s now two largest investments, Oxford Nanopore and BenevolentAI, should boost returns going forward, depending on the level of participation in these deals and the uplift in value, which has not yet been disclosed. BenevolentAI, in which WPCT held a stake accounting for 9% of NAV, raised $115m at a pre-money valuation of $2bn- a significant rise – while Oxford Nanopore, in which it has a stake equivalent to 10% of NAV, raised £100m. Furthermore, with Atolus Therapeutics planning an IPO – it has just filed its registration statement having made an a confidential filing in March – WPCT may see a significant uplift in value on investments accounting for almost 25% of its net assets next month.
Marten & Co’s latest monthly biotech specialist trust performance update shows around two thirds of the trust beat the index in the two periods, with top positions for BB Healthcare (BBH) in April and HBM Healthcare (HBMH) in the year to date period, in terms of NAV performance. US-listed Blackrock Health Sciences Trust and the UK’s Polar Capital Global Healthcare Trust (PCGH) also came out well in the two periods relative to the index and most of their peers.
The tables below shows the investment and share price performance (Sterling-adjusted, total return) for the 13 closed end trusts, relative to the benchmark Nasdaq biotechnology index , in April (top) and the four month year to date period (bottom).