Roivant was founded in 2014 by former hedgefund analyst Vivek Ramaswarmy on the basis that the company will attempt to buy late stage pipeline molecules that are abandoned or shelved by other pharma companies.
The company has raised in excess of $2.7bn, $1bn of which originates from the Softbank New Vision fund. The company is headquartered in Basel, Switzerland but is run under a Bermuda holding entity for tax efficiency, similar to how an investment fund is structured.
Roivant's first acquisition was an Alzheimers drug originally developed by GlaxoSmithKline sold to Axovant (subcompany owned by Roivant) for $20m. The drug, Interpirdine, an H5-ST2A receptor agonist is in Phase 2B, despite early set backs when it failed to meet its clinical end points in the original phase 2 trial. Gsk licensed the drug to Roivant based on, what is likely a risk adjusted NPV and a review of against other pipeline drugs in which a gated investment strategy makes necessary a trade off in investment dollars for drugs that have the highest estimated peak sales and corresponding r-NPV. GSK, for instance, may want to focus the estimated $1bn it takes to bring the molecule to market on other molecules in its pipeline and hence wanted to offload Interpirdine and recoup as much of its original investment into pre-clinical and other R&D. Roivant is betting that the probability of passing the acquired molecules as higher than the originator pharmaceutical and that additional FDA approvals for indications can be attained.
Roivant is a holding company for a number of subcompanies called 'Vants' controlled by Roivant but operated almost as individual and autonomous companies. In a competitor such as Novartis or GlaxoSmithKline, the drugs would be operated within a brand franchise rather than autonomous entities.