In one of the largest biotech investments ever made, Roivant Sciences has raised $1.1 billion in equity led by the Softbank Vision Fund.
Roivant is a New-York based company founded in 2014 that hopes to one day hold several smaller biotech, pharmaceutical and health subsidiaries within its umbrella. They focus on purchasing, developing and commercializing therapies and drugs then creating companies to further distribute and evolve their process. All of the subsidiaries Roivant has created so far end with ‘-vant,’ from Axovant (neurology) to Dermavant (dermatology).
A big part of what Roivant does is look for drugs stuck in turnaround, purchase them and find ways to distribute them more widely. These aren’t dangerous drugs, but more like projects that have been shelved due to lack of funding or corporate interest.
Roivant’s latest investor, Softbank, has been on a roll lately when it comes to throwing big equity cash around. The Japanese telecom and internet company leads the Softbank Vision Fund, a $100 billion investment arm that has constructed several multi-million dollar deals over the past year or so, with a few billion dollar deals sprinkled in to boot.
The money from the Softbank Vision Fund is only going to Roivant, and not its subsidiaries. This does not stop Roivant from using the money to create new ‘-vants’ to work with though, including Datavant. Datavant hopes to “transform biopharma through artificial intelligence,” according to their site.
“Datavant is dedicated to accelerating the discovery, development, and commercialization of new medicines through machine learning,” reads the company’s mission. “We aim to partner with biomedical research institutions to eliminate silos of information and unlock insights from healthcare data.”
Datavant will help companies make more use of the data gathered from their clinical trials. A lot of data from these secretive trials is not published, which leads to many researchers and pharmaceutical types repeating tests and wasting valuable resources. Datavant wants to pool all of this information together to cut costs and decrease overall time to market for important and life-saving drugs.
This sharing of data is part of a relatively new mission in the pharmaceutical industry to share darknet data sets and use the collective pool of information to build models that determine which antibiotics, molecules, drugs and so on are worth testing.
The investment also includes vesting from previous backers of Roivant, including Viking Global Investors and QVT Financial.
“We are impressed with the ambition and track record of the Roivant team and look forward to supporting them in the next step of their journey,” said Akshay Naheta, SoftBank Group International managing director in a press release.