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Biotech firms brace for wave of Woodford fund liquidations

Biotech firms brace for wave of Woodford fund liquidations

Arix Biosciences (ARIX), Reneuron (RENE), Mereo Biopharma (MPH) and 4D Pharma (DDDD) look set to be among the firms braced for the potential sale of all or parts of the shareholdings held by Woodford Invesmtent Management in the coming days, as the troubled manager appears to be liquidating its assets to meet redemptions in the wake of the temporary closure of trading in its flagship Income Fund. WIM has shareholdings in these four firms valued at £107.8m, according to research by Marten & Co (see table below).

Market cap  Current WIM holding  Current value of holding
£m £m
Arix Biosciences 172.407 24.5% 42.2
Reneuron 77.9 35.4% 27.6
Mereo Biopharma 68.18 31.1% 21.2
4D Pharma 62.87 26.70% 16.8

In the last two days alone, Woodford Invesment Management (WIM) has reported the sale of large stakes in two bio/tech investment groups – IP Group (IPO) and Allied Minds (ALM) – and two biotechs – Circassia (CIR) and e-Therapeutics (ETX) – as well as stakes in a host of non-bio companies including Amigo Holdings (AMGO), Barratt Developments (BDEV), Breedon Group (BREE), Redrow (RDW), Crest Nicholson (CRST), BCA Marketplace (BCA), Countryside Properties (CSP), Paypoint (PAY), Taylor Wimpey (TW), Watkin Jones (WJG), Provident Financial, (PFG) Keir Group (KIE), Purplebricks (PURP), New River REIT (NRR), Card Factory (CARD) and Ten Entertainment Group (TEG).

While the total scale of all of these share sales cannot be be determined (the before and after percentage holdings are only disclosed if both are above 5%), for those where it can be calculated – the four bios and Purplebricks – the realisation must have totalled £66.9m, according to calculations by Marten & Co. These share sales are shown in the table below.

Sold  Market cap  Realised   Current holding  Current value
% £m £m £m
IP Group 4.9% 794.4 39.1 14.1% 111.9
Purplebricks 5.0% 318.61 16.0 23.9% 76.1
Allied Minds 5.0% 182.93 9.1 23.2% 42.5
Circassia 3.6% 73.07 2.6 24.5% 17.9
e-Therapeutics 3.8% 4.566 0.2 14.1% 0.6

Meanwhile, Proton Partners International has issued a notice to WIM calling for the subscription of 14.2m shares at £1.76 per share in order to raise £25m, under a financing commitment made as part of an earlier financing. WIM already holds a 41.8% stake in the company, which has a value of £144m based on its notional market cap of £345m (Proton Partners is technically listed on the NEX Exchange, but its shares do not seem to trade).

WIM also holds (or did so as of 31 March), holdings in eight US-listed firms, according to 13F filings. These shareholdings (assuming they are still held) would have a value of $860m, Marten & Co’s calculations suggest.

No of shares  Current $/share Value ($m)
Autolus 12.0 16.56 199.4
Theravance 13.4 15.6 208.7
Agios Pharama 2.2 48.7 107.8
Prothena 11.9 8.85 105.5
Alkermes 2.6 22.67 59.8
Biogen 0.3 224.35 67.3
Nucana 3.2 12.03 38.9
Evofem 11.5 6.31 72.8








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