Biotech giant backed by Neil Woodford confirms £100m London float

Shruti Tripathi Chopra
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Arix Bioscience focuses on developing businesses addressing medical innovation (Source: Getty)

UK healthcare giant Arix Bioscience, backed by biotech entrepreneur Sir Chris Evans and star investor Neil Woodford, is hoping to raise £100m in a stock market float in London.

Arix, which raised more than £50m from Woodford Investment Management and other institutional investors, focuses on developing businesses addressing medical innovation.

The London-based company has acquired direct interests in five exceptional life science companies since first raising capital in February 2016. It also has indirect interests in a further 17 innovative life science companies.

Top bosses at the biotech firm include chief executive Joe Anderson, a former partner at life science investment firm Abingworth, and chairman Jonathan Peacock who was formerly chief financial officer of pharma giants Amgen and Novartis.

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Joe Anderson, chief executive of Arix Bioscience, said the float will help the company build businesses that work on breakthrough therapies.

"This IPO is about helping to provide permanent capital support to international healthcare and life sciences companies who are bringing promising early-stage innovations to market and allowing a broader range of people to invest in that innovation," he told City A.M.

"We’re an international business but, as you’ll know, the UK is home to a lot of world-class scientific innovation and we think this could help to support that innovation. We think sentiment in the market is good for companies with a strong story and we hope this will help boost the positive momentum we’re seeing."

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Speaking about opportunities in the life sciences sector, Anderson said Arix has "the potential to change the investment landscape for life sciences investment with a new model which provides active support to life science companies".

"We can provide seed, venture and growth capital as well as private and public equity, and our aim is to work closely with our companies and stay the course with international businesses as they build value," he added.

In April last year, Arix Bioscience stumped up $25m (£20m) towards a strategic partnership with BioMotiv, a US-based pharmaceutical accelerator to support innovative discoveries by universities.

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