Arbutus Biopharma (Nasdaq: ABUS), a Canadian developer of hepatitis B virus therapies, has agreed to a US$116 million investment from Roivant Sciences, the Swiss biotech company led by former hedge fund Vivek Ramaswamy. Roviant already held a 29.1% equity stake in Arbutus, which had a market cap of around $340 million as of Friday's market close.
- Why it's the BFD: Because Roivant really needs a win, less than two months after securing a $1.1 billion investment led by SoftBank Vision Fund. A publicly-traded subsidiary called Axovant Sciences — which issued the largest biotech IPO of all time — last week learned that its lead Alzheimer's drug candidate doesn't work, which sent its shares down from $24.25 to just $6.26 in a single day of trading.
- Bottom line: "This is not one of Ramaswamy's classic plays. His whole strategy centers on rescuing clinical-stage assets languishing in the pipelines of the world's biggest biopharma companies and putting them through an efficient late-stage effort, ramping up new drug products better than any of the majors. His first effort at that, with a 5HT6 Alzheimer's drug, proved a complete failure." -- John Carroll, Endpoint
• Three companies are expected to price IPOs on U.S. exchanges this week: Black Ridge Acquisition (blank check co formed by Black Ridge Oil & Gas), Rhythm Pharmaceuticals and Switch. http://axios.link/vpyW
• Hexindai, a Beijing-based consumer lending platform, has filed for an $80 million IPO. It plans to trade under ticker symbol HX, with Network 1 Financial Securities as sole underwriter. The company reports around $8.6 million of net income on $23 million of revenue for its most recent fiscal year.
• Arsenal Capital Partners has agreed to sell Accella Performance Materials, a Maryland Heights, Mo.-based specialty polyurethane platform, to Carlisle Cos. (NYSE: CSL) for $670 million. www.accellacorp.com