In line with the investment strategy defined for the Aurora Fund of Funds managed by Axon Partners Group, the vehicle to date has participation in 15 companies in the “life sciences” sector, representing 44% of the fund’s portfolio.
Aurora’s investment strategy, defined prior to the current Covid-19 pandemic, contemplates an exposure of over 40% in this sector, as historical information shows that it is one of the best technology sectors both in terms of returns and consistency. Furthermore, investments in life sciences significantly reduce portfolio volatility due to the defensive profile of the health sector. Finally, there is no doubt that beyond the financial return and the favorable risk profile, it is of great value to financially support companies that improve the quality and life expectancy of people through the development of new, more accessible drugs, more effective medical devices and more accurate diagnostics.
Some of the life sciences companies in which the Aurora fund platform participates are working on solving existing medical needs in diseases such as cancer, coronary, neurological or infectious diseases, or diseases of the elderly. For example, the Dutch company Arvelle Therapeutics has developed a new drug that has already been approved by the American FDA to reduce the frequency of partial epilepsy seizures in medicated adults. On the other hand, the Danish company SNIPR Biome is developing new generation antibiotics that selectively and accurately kill only the harmful bacteria (leaving the rest of the beneficial microbial community intact). In cancer treatment, Aurora is involved with the English company Artios and the American company Nkarta Therapeutics, which are developing innovative treatments for some of the most complex forms of cancer.
Other companies in Aurora’s portfolio such as Healx are using artificial intelligence to accelerate the development of new drugs for rare diseases. Currently, there are more than 7,000 types of these diseases that affect more than 400,000 people annually (50% are children). Only 5% of these diseases have some kind of approved treatment. The traditional model of new drug development focused on the search for treatments for large-scale diseases is costly, risky and long the road to the development and approval of a medicine (usually takes 12-15 years and involves $2-2 billion).
However, Healx, using artificial intelligence, can move into clinical trials for new treatments 80% faster, 80-90% cheaper and with a greater chance of success than conventional drug discovery methods. The same company is working on finding therapies to cure viral diseases such as the one produced by Covid-19.
In total, Aurora’s anticipates to have an exposure to more than 350 companies. Of these, approximately 150 are in the life sciences sector, seeking to improve the effectiveness, quality and access to new drugs, treatments and disruptive medical devices in the treatment of diseases that affect the population.