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11 Aug 2017

Indian-origin entrepreneur raises $1.1bn by SoftBank

The rise of Vivek Ramaswamy's Roivant Sciences

A US-based biotech company founded by an Indian-origin entrepreneur has raised $1.1bn from SoftBank and other investors- one of the largest fundings in the life science sector.

Roivant Sciences, which has six subsidiaries (Axovant, Myovant, Enzyvant, Dermavant, Urovant and Datavant), was established in May 2014.

Since then, it has saved several crucial drugs from being forgotten.

In context

The rise of Vivek Ramaswamy's Roivant Sciences

What does Roivant do?

Roivant identifies drugs of other companies whose development has halted for any reason. It then convinces the other to part with the half-formed remedy or form win-win partnerships, and then takes over. It also develops its own drugs.

The steady rise of Roivant


The steady rise of Roivant

As Silicon Valley obsessed over health company Theranos that crashed last year, Roivant acquired a dozen drugs, including Lipitor, a bestselling drug which was almost abandoned, and intepirdine, an Alzheimer's drug.

Roivant's 76% share in Axovant has produced a 20,000% return on the initial $5mn investment.

Ramaswamy also managed to turn an $8mn purchase of Hepatitis B drugs into a 1,275% paper return.

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A brief profile of Roivant's founder

Ramaswamy, originally from Kerala, was born in 1985 in Cincinnati. The Harvard and Yale Law alumnus specialized in biology.

His penchant for the pharma industry was a result of close experience with Alzheimer's in his childhood.

In 2007, he co-founded Campus Venture Network, a tech company.

In 2016, Forbes ranked Ramaswamy the 24th richest American entrepreneur under 40; his net worth then was $600mn.

What's next for Roivant?

Currently, Roivant is working on 14 drugs. The fresh funding will help it in launching new companies, expected to be outside traditional biopharmaceutical development. It has meanwhile partnered with GSK, Takeda and Merck to develop new drugs.

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