RA Capital released its latest quarterly 13F fund update with the SEC last week, showcasing new positions in the multi-stage healthcare and life science-focused fund.
The Boston-based fund has emerged as a force to be reckoned with in the world of biotech investments. Led by enigmatic founder Peter Kolchinsky, the fund has carved a niche for itself by identifying promising biotech companies and placing strategic bets on their potential breakthroughs.
While the biotech sector is notoriously volatile and risky, RA Capital’s track record is nothing short of impressive. Kolchinsky’s keen eye for transformative technologies and his ability to navigate the complex landscape of drug development have earned him a reputation as a savvy investor.
With an uncanny knack for spotting trends and a deep understanding of the underlying science, RA Capital has consistently outperformed its peers in the sector, generating substantial returns for its investors over the last ten years.
During the first quarter, RA Capital’s reported portfolio value contracted by around 10% to $4.42 billion, underperforming broader equity market indexes that rose during the period. The total number of positions held by the fund also declined during the quarter, falling from 70 down to 59 investments as several positions were liquidated.
The sheer growth of the fund in the years leading into the pandemic with the fund growing in value by more than seven-fold from 2017-2021. While a large portion of gains were erased in early 2022 as central banks began lifting interest rates, the back half of the year proved how quickly investments in the sector can re-rate when optimism begins to return.
The top five positions in the fund currently by size are: Ascendis Pharma (US:ASND), Vaxcyte Inc (US:PCVX), DICE Therapeutics Inc (US:DICE), 89bio Inc (US:ETNB) and Aerovate Therapeutics Inc (US:AVTE).
Among the fund’s top increases, the standout stock was CureVac (US:CVAC), with a new 12.25 million share position initiated by the fund with a 1.93% portfolio allocation worth $85.35 million.
Kolchinsky added around 2.5 million shares to the stake in 89bio, topping up the position to $173.88 million. This, along with a continued rising share price pushed the change in allocation 1.62% higher to a 3.94% weight of the fund.
Tyra Biosciences Inc (US:US:TYRA) also saw a sizable 1.52% portfolio allocation increase to 2.63% of the fund as the stock price appreciated around 70%. The market value of the position, when the quarter ended, was $116.29 million and has risen further so far in the second quarter as the share price momentum has continued.
Other significant new positions added by the fund during the quarter included; Mineralys Therapeutics Inc (US:MYLS) with a 1.13% allocation worth $49.77 million, Pilant Therapeutics (US:PLRX) with a 1.06% allocation worth $48.87 million and a 1.05% allocation in Enliven Therapeutics (US:ELVN) valued at around $46.48 million.
The fund also topped up additional stakes in Geron Corp (US:GERN), DICE Therapeutics and Viridian Therapeutics (US:VRDN).
RA Capital completely exited positions in Travere Therapeutics (US:TVTX) and Akero Therapeutics (US:AKRO), selling around 4 million and 1 million shares of each stock, respectively.
The fund added capital to the stake in Fulcrum Therapeutics (US:FULC), buying around 2 million shares during the quarter. Despite the additional capital invested, the total allocation to the stock more than halved as shares plunged in February when the FDA halted a sickle-cell study.
The fund sold more than half of its shares in Rocket Pharmaceuticals (US:RKCT) during the quarter as the stock’s share price recovery lost steam during the quarter. A minor position value of $19.39 million was retained by the close.
The portfolio allocations to Aerovate Therapeutics (US:AVTE), Rhythm Pharmaceuticals (US:RYTM), Day One Biopharmaceuticals (US:DAWN), Wave Life Sciences (US:WVE) and Aclaris Therapeutics (US:ACRS) saw notable declines in portfolio allocations, driven by share price weakness over the quarter.
This article originally appeared on Fintel
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