Biotech stocks pop and drop on the smallest whims and whispers, which makes the biotechnology sector one of the most rewarding and volatile sectors out there. Retail investors interested in high-potential biotech stocks should definitely have a look at the pool of holdings managed by Baker Bros. Advisors, run by Julian Baker and Felix Baker, or Peter Kolchinsky’s RA Capital Management. In 2009, venture capital firm Venrock Associates formed Venrock Healthcare Capital Partners (VHCP) to invest in public and late-stage private healthcare companies. The VHCP team at Venrock Associates, overseen by Anders Hove and Bong Koh, seeks to leverage their venture expertise and in-depth data analysis to locate promising biotech companies within the public markets. Thus, we decided to lay out several noteworthy moves executed by VHCP Management during the first quarter of 2016 in an attempt to discover high-potential biotech companies.
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Beigene Ltd (ADR) (NASDAQ:BGNE)
– Number of shares owned by VHCP (as of March 31): 51,000 ADSs
– Value of VHCP’s holding (as of March 31): $1.50 Million
The healthcare arm of venture capital firm Venrock Associates acquired a new stake of 51,000 American Depositary Shares (ADSs) of Beigene Ltd (ADR) (NASDAQ:BGNE) during the January-to-March period, which were valued at nearly $1.50 million at the end of the period. In early February, the clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company completed its initial public offering on the NASDAQ stock exchange by selling 6.60 million ADSs at $24.00 per ADS. Each ADS represents 13 ordinary shares. Beigene seeks to become a leader in the discovery and development of innovative, molecularly-targeted and immuno-oncology drugs for the treatment of cancer. The company is working on four clinical-stage drug candidates that have the potential to be best-in-class or first-in-class treatments. The ADSs of Beigene have declined by nearly 2% since the beginning of 2016, but are trading 15% above their IPO price. A total of 15 hedge funds monitored by Insider Monkey were invested in Beigene at the end of the March quarter, with the aforementioned Baker Bros. Advisors LP being one of them, owning 1.91 million ADSs of Beigene Ltd (ADR) (NASDAQ:BGNE) as of March 31.
BioCryst Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:BCRX)
– Number of shares owned by VHCP (as of March 31): 562,943
– Value of VHCP’s holding (as of March 31): $1.59 Million
VHCP added a 562,943-share position in BioCryst Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:BCRX) to its pool of holdings during the March quarter. The new position was valued at $1.59 million and accounted for 1.4% of the value of the fund’s portfolio. However, it should be noted that in a 13G filing reporting its holding as of March 16, Venrock reported aggregate ownership of 5.24 million shares, 473,101 of which were held by the main fund, with the rest of the shares being held by affiliated funds, so it’s likely that Venrock’s position remains much larger than that reported in its latest 13F filing.
BioCryst, which designs and develops small molecule drugs to block key enzymes involved in the pathogenesis of diseases has seen its shares plummet by 68% year-to-date. The huge decline in the shares of the company are mainly attributable to disappointing results from the OPuS-2 trial of orally-administered avoralstat for the treatment of hereditary angioedema (HAE) attacks. On the other hand, BioCryst revealed in early March that a preclinical study showed one of the company’s experimental antiviral drugs improved survival rates in mice infected with the Zika virus. RA Capital Management had 2.99 million shares of BioCryst Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:BCRX) in its portfolio at the end of March.
We’ll take a look at three more big moves made by VHCP Management during the first quarter on the next page.