It was revealed in a filing yesterday with the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission that RA Capital Management has opened a large, passive position in Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation (NASDAQ:TKMR). The filing dates back to January 12, the same day Tekmira experienced a more than 50% jump in their stock price after their announced merger with OnCore Biopharma, and shows that RA Capital has acquired 2.21 million shares of Tekmira, 9.9% of all common shares.
The investment in Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation (NASDAQ:TKMR) by Peter Kolchinsky’s RA Capital Management is by no means a surprise, given the hedge fund’s focus on investing in companies in the health sciences and pharmaceutical sectors, particularly those developing promising new drugs. In addition to their evidence-based investing, which is done only after rigorous studies of the product’s viability and market potential, the Boston-based fund also provides support to their portfolio companies as needed.
Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation (NASDAQ:TKMR) is only the latest in a long list of health-related companies to draw the attention of RA Capital. As we reported in November, RA Capital initiated a position in Proteon Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:PRTO), with 8.3% of the company’s shares (1.25 million), while a month earlier they initiated a new position on TG Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:TGTX) with 3.14 million shares, accounting for 8.3% of TG’s common stock.
As with Tekmira, both of those recent positions are also passive by nature. While the majority of RA Capital’s holdings are passive, they do occasionally take activist positions, as in the case of Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ACHN), which they’ve recently begun to heavily divest themselves of. In the third quarter alone, they sold nearly 16 million of the 24.49 million Achillion shares they owned at the start of the quarter. That selloff bumped Achillion down from the largest position in RA Capital’s equity portfolio, to third, behind Dyax Corp. (NASDAQ:DYAX) and BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:BCRX). As of September 30 they had 7.81 million shares in the former, and 7.07 million shares in the latter.