How Roivant Sciences invests and partners with biopharma companies

We’re stoked to host in-person events again. Our first guest in two years was Roivant Sciences, an integrated pharma-tech business that develops transformative medicines faster by building technologies and developing talent in creative ways.

Three speakers from Roivant told us about how they’re able to grow a global biopharma company from scratch into a leader in the field, what their partnering strategy is and how you can become their next partner.

Get an invite to our next event

About BaseLaunch:

We partner with scientists and entrepreneurs to help launch and grow exceptional biotech ventures developing cutting-edge therapeutics. And we know how to do this – so far our portfolio has raised over $450M in financing with an average series A raise of $30M per company.

Learn more about our offering

About our guests: 

Today we focus on Roivant Sciences who will talk about a data-driven, patient-centric, and value-oriented health system — and what kind of partners they’re looking for.

Join us at our upcoming events!

Our speakers from Roivant

Christian Mauriand

Global Head of Corporate Development

Christian was an early team member at Roivant and served in a variety of roles in business development and operations across the Roivant family of companies.

Prior to joining Roivant, Christian co-founded iRewind, a technology company which was sold to Yoveo in 2016. He holds a degree in Business Administration from the University of St. Gallen.

Meet Christian Mauriand on LinkedIn. 

 

Eric Valeur

Vice President, Head of Drug Discovery

Eric has more than 15 years of drug discovery experience gained at small, mid-size and large pharma/biotech companies including Merck-Serono, Novartis and AstraZeneca.

Before joining Roivant, he built a first-in-category biotech company at Flagship Pioneering, leading the R&D team from inception, and demonstrated proof-of-concept for a new modality.

He holds a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Edinburgh and a master’s of business administration from Imperial College London.

Meet Eric Valeur on LinkedIn.

 

Niharika Sharma

Principal, Corporate Development

Niharika has several years of experience at Roivant Sciences where she held a variety of roles conducting asset search and evaluation, commercial due diligence and business development.

Prior to joining Roivant she was a Postdoctoral Scientist at a Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies. 

She holds her PhD in Immunology from Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research and Karolinska University Hospital and master’s in Immunology from King’s College London. 

Meet Niharika Sharma on LinkedIn.

An introduction to Roivant Sciences

Roivant Sciences is an 8 years old, commercial stage, publicly-traded biopharmaceutical company with the mission to improve the delivery of healthcare to patients by treating every inefficiency as an opportunity.

The company started in 2014 with a focus on identifying deprioritized assets and bringing them forward in development.

Today, it’s a full-fledged pharmaceutical company and commercial company. Its first product, VTAMA, was just approved in the US. It’s the first topical approved in the past 25 years for Plaque Psoriasis, a skin disease that causes itchy, raised skin patches covered with scales.

“I’m very proud today to say that we’re now a full-fledged pharmaceutical and commercial company.”

—Christian Mauriand

Redefining traditional pharma from end to end.

Roivant developed its unique Vant model. Instead of building a large company with many departments, Roivant takes a decentralized approach. It works as an incubator of biotech and health companies and calls them Vants.

Each Vant is its own company with its own management but is founded and majority owned (at least in the beginning) by Roivant. 

Since inception, Roivant has built 20 Vants.

On the outer ring, you can see the therapeutic vants. They have been at the core of Roivant’s work from day one. On the inner ring are Roivant’s healthtech companies.

Roivant’s drug discovery capabilities are driven by an industry-leading computational platform with broad experimental and deep drug discovery capabilities. This enables the rapid design and optimization of new drugs to address a wide range of otherwise difficult to durg disease targets. 

A strong track record and future pipeline

Roivant’s drug discovery capabilities are driven by an industry-leading computational platform with broad experimental and deep drug discovery capabilities. This enables the rapid design and optimization of new drugs to address a wide range of otherwise difficult to durg disease targets. 

The Vants have brought over 40 medicines into development since Roivant’s inception in 2014 and received five FDA approvals. Of nine global Phase 3 trials, eight ran positively.

“Those were large global Phase 3 trials with multiple indications and modalities. The success we had with bringing our medicine to approval speaks to the benefit of our approach.”

—Christian Mauriand

Thanks to the Vant model, Roivant can be modality agnostic. In its pipeline, there’s a wide variety of products, from topicals to biologics, small molecules and cell and gene therapy. A broad development pipeline is already in place with a number of drugs from early-stage to Phase 3 to already approved products.

The Roivant Discovery engine.

Roivant has built a strong discovery engine over the last couple of years to accelerate the discovery of transformative medicines through the interplay Physics & AI-based computational, Heterobifunctional and Covalent platforms.

“When we think about drug discovery it goes back to the inner passion of bringing medicine to the patient. This is what drives every scientist who works in drug discovery.”

—Eric Valeur

Roivant decided not to choose between physics and AI-based computational platforms but to combine them. The interplay between the two allows for much greater progress.

More about Roivant Discovery.

Roivant is already a trusted partner for discovery-stage collaborations and are actively looking to expand their partner base. 

An example of success: Dermavant

Dermavant has more than 100 people in its sales force in the US. It boosts Roivant’s commercial capabilities like no other Vant right now.

But the success doesn’t stem from a big sales force. Its roots are in the leadership team with over 200 years of experience in dermatology. That’s how Dermavant created the world-class drug with the brand name VTAMA.

It’s the first topical cream that has been approved for Plaque Psoriasis, a skin disease that causes itchy, raised skin patches covered with scales, in the last 25 years.

It works by binding the Aryl hydrocarbon receptor, a target that has been subject to experimental research for decades. Roivant recognized the high value potential taking the drug through Phase 2 development to approval in 4 years from deal close.

The future of Roivant in the Basel Area.

We’ve established our presence in Basel in 2016. We’ve grown significantly. We launched Vants and sold Vants. We’re building new Vants in Basel as we speak. We see Basel as a core R&D drug development hub for Roivant and we hope to be an end-to-end pharma company in Basel.

Christian MauriandGlobal Head of Corporate Development at Roivant

Roivant is looking for the right partner and it might be you.

The rich history of transactions makes many people ask Roivant if they’re a fund. Niharika puts it like this:

“You can think of us as a hybrid between venture capital fund, private equity fund and traditional pharma. We have the ability to discover, develop and now even commercialize drugs.”

In the past, Roivant has partnered with big pharma, academia and biotech covering licensing deals that are typically worldwide exclusive licensing but also geographical and formulation licensing. In some cases, Roivant has done asset acquisition and transformational deals where it sold its ownership in some of the most advanced Vants to DSP.

Another question is about the typical ticket size. To that, Niharika answers:

“We don’t have that. We enter into partnerships with different deal types. The upfront can range from anywhere in the low double to mid-sized triple digit figures and can have cash as well as equity components.”

“We’re very opportunistic and free in terms of our deal structures. But historically, we’ve been taking global assets or majority stakes. We rarely do minority stakes but it’s not impossible.”

—Christian Mauriand

Roivant has a rich history of creative deal making and is open to collaborate on clinical and discovery-stage assets within the pipeline as well as external innovation. 

It’s also possible that Roivant gets in touch with you. Roivant has its own investment thesis and scouts the market for early and late-stage assets with clinically validated targets.

Share this article

View all news

Sign up to receive our newsletter in your inbox.