Woodford's biotech fund goes back to the well amid market 'enthusiasm'

Neil Woodford

U.K. investor Neil Woodford is planning to issue more shares of his new biotech-focused fund over the next year, raising money as the firm's first round of bets begins to pay off. The Woodford Patient Capital Trust, launched in April, will issue about 80 million shares in the coming months to fuel its next investments, planning to float them gradually and price them at a premium to what current backers paid to get in on the fund. As of June 30, Woodford's group had invested roughly 75% of the £800 million ($1.2 billion) it raised at launch, the firm said, a quicker pace than it had expected. Now Woodford and his team want to keep up the momentum. The fund's largest holdings are focused on biotech, led by hematology outfit Prothena ($PRTA), anticoagulant developer Verseon and cancer immunotherapy outfit Northwest Biotherapeutics ($NWBO). "There is a great deal of enthusiasm in the U.S. biotech sector about new potential treatments for cancer and in other areas of high unmet clinical need, as well as hopes of acquisitions by cash-rich pharmaceutical majors," Woodford wrote in the firm's quarterly report. "Although this has led to several US biotech stocks trading on bubblelike valuations, we have focused our exposure on stocks where future potential is, in our view, significantly undervalued by the market." Report | More