Update: We published a series of articles going in depth into Altium Capital, its investments and the science behind the progressive therapies discussed. We have appended the additional articles below to consolidate the series, and hope you enjoy.
The healthcare investment industry is in for some great things and exciting changes. Often referred to as the titan of healthcare investing, Jacob Gottlieb, MD, CFA, PRMIA is a highly successful financial entrepreneur who is adding yet another venture to his repertoire, namely Altium Capital. The healthcare-oriented investment fund is based out of New York City, and it focuses on investment opportunities relating to growth companies in the healthcare industry. In particular, Gottlieb seeks out enterprises that offer meaningful health and medical treatment advances.
Some of Altium Capital’s recent investments include, Oramed Pharmaceuticals (ORMP), Amarin Corporation (AMRN) as well as Oragenics.
Altium’s first investment was a 5.61% stake in Oramed that has developed an innovative oral treatment alternative for diabetes patients who are otherwise receiving injectable drugs. As such, it has successfully tested and released an orally ingestible insulin capsule (ORMD-0801) as well as an oral Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analog (exenatide) capsule (ORMD-0901). Oramed prides itself on an experienced management team with several years of both business as well as pharmaceutical experience. The company is also supported by world-class scientific experts.
Headquartered in Dublin, Ireland and with offices in Bedminster, New Jersey, Amarin is a rapidly growing, innovative pharmaceutical company whose efforts revolve around developing drugs to improve cardiovascular health. Its product development is based on a combination between is lipid science expertise and the potential therapeutic benefits of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Amarin’s first FDA-approved drug, Vascepa (AMR-101), is a prescription grade omega-3 fatty acid that was approved in 2012.
Furthermore, Oragenics, which was founded in 1996 by two physicians on the concept of Replacement Therapy, focuses on becoming a leader in novel antibiotics against infectious disease as well as on effective treatment development for oral mucositis. Replacement Therapy is based on the concept of replacing harmful bacteria with beneficial bacteria in order to achieve a therapeutic or health-enhancing result. Through its collaboration with Intrexon Corporation, Inc., Oragenics has access to proprietary technologies that can speed up development of much needed antibiotics that can tackle resistant bacterial strains. The collaboration can also accelerate biotherapeutics for oral mucositis along with other diseases and conditions of the oral cavity, throat and esophagus.
With his new venture, Gottlieb shares office space with another healthcare investment behemoth and long-time colleague, Stuart Weisbrod. The two have previously worked together at Merlin BioMed Group, and they are now sharing offices and talking about future collaborations.
Prior to Altium, Gottlieb founded Visium Asset Management in 2005. At its peak in 2016, the company was an $8 billion hedge fund giant with over 200 employees in global offices in New York City, San Francisco and London. However, following an insider trading scandal that year, the company was essentially forced to let go of its entire team and wind down. Having been cleared of any legal wrongdoing associated with the sandal, Gottlieb remained the company’s only key executive.
Before founding Visium Asset Management, LLC, he was a founding member at Balyasny Asset Management, L.P. (BAM). There he became a top earner and known for his large portfolio gains. Visium was essentially Gottlieb’s desire to manage a larger fund. Prior to BAM, he was a successful investment portfolio manager at Merlin in New York City. He also held the position of buy-side analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC, where he covered global health care for two years.
Gottlieb holds a BA in Economics (magna cum laude) from Brown University and an MD from New York University Medical School. This was followed by an internal medicine internship, while Gottlieb’s ongoing interest in investing lead him toward the financial industry.
Gottlieb obtained his Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charter from the Association for Investment Management and Research (AIMR) in 2001 and his P.R.M. designation from the Professional Risk Managers’ International Association in 2010.
Part 2: Broadening Healthcare Investment
Exciting new developments are brewing in the healthcare sector, as the veteran and well regarded investor Jacob Gottlieb, MD, CFA, PRMIA launches and begins to expand his new venture, Altium Capital, a healthcare-focused investment fund which piggybacks off Gottlieb’s previous successes in the field of healthcare-focused investments.
Altium Capital is based in New York City and has started with a focus in opportunities to invest in growth companies, mostly in the healthcare industry. Specifically, Gottlieb focuses on promising ventures and companies that are spearheading significant historical advances in the health and medical industry.
Building a Vision in the field of Healthcare Investments
Gottlieb has always had his eye on the future of growth companies in the healthcare industry, and his finger on the pulse of this investment sector. Prior to founding Altium, Gottlieb had founded the highly successful Visium Asset Management in 2005, another healthcare-focused hedge fund which by 2016 Gottlieb had expanded into an $8 billion fund with over 200 employees and headquarters in New York City, San Francisco, and London. A scandal broke out in 2016 involving a couple of employees who were accused of insider trading, forcing the company to shut down. Gottlieb, cleared of any wrongdoing in connection with the scandal, remained as the company’s sole officer, and has been focused on returning funds to investors, maintaining a low profile until the recent launch of Altium Capital in June of 2018.
Gottlieb has been fine-tuning his skill and instinct for growth opportunities in the healthcare industry over the course of his entire career. Prior to his involvement with Visium Asset Management, LLC, Gottlieb co-founded Balyasny Asset Management, L.P. (BAM), where he developed a reputation as a top earner and gained industry-wide recognition for huge portfolio gains. Gottlieb essentially founded Visium to achieve his goal of managing a larger fund after his work with BAM. Gottlieb had also amassed experience as a successful investment portfolio manager at Merlin BioMed Group in New York City before becoming a founding member of BAM. He also worked for two years as a buy-side analyst for Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC, where he also focused on global health care investments.
Gottlieb earned his BA in Economics (magna cum laude) at Brown University, and received his MD from New York University Medical School. While he completed an internal medicine internship, Gottlieb’s passionate and profound interest in investing in the healthcare and medical sector guided him toward a career in the investment industry. In 2001 he earned a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charter from the Association for Investment Management and Research (AIMR), and in 2010 earned his P.R.M. designation from the Professional Risk Managers’ International Association.
Altium’s new office space in New York City promises exciting future joint ventures, as Gottlieb will be sharing office space with two other leading investment firms in the healthcare sector: Iguana Healthcare Partners and Bay City Capital. This move appears strategic, as Gottlieb worked previously and successfully with Stuart Weisbrod, Iguana’s founder and CIO, at Merlin BioMed Group, hence the possibility of future joint ventures looks especially promising. The mere fact that these three industry powerhouses are working in such close proximity to one another opens the floodgates for exciting new opportunities and prospects in the healthcare investment industry.
Altium Capital Selects its First Investments
Altium marked its launch with some initial strategic investments, upon which Gottlieb plans to expand and grow the company quickly, to build a large portfolio.
· Oramed Pharmaceuticals
The company’s first investment was a 5.61% stake in Oramed Pharmaceuticals, a promising company based in Jerusalem that has developed an oral insulin capsule for diabetes patients who would otherwise have to rely on insulin via injection. The company has effectively tested and released an insulin capsule that may be taken orally, representing a breakthrough in the way insulin has been traditionally been administered, while also making treatments more accessible and less costly for more patients. Oramed takes great pride in its experienced management team that combines a wealth of business experience and pharmaceutical knowledge, as well as the support of scientific experts and leaders from around the world.
Various healthcare-focused investors were interested in the registered direct offering for Oramed Pharmaceuticals Inc., with Altium opting for a 5.61% stake in the company, encouraged by the company’s potential to transform and simplify the administration of insulin for diabetes patients. Oramed’s oral insulin capsule stands to improve the lives of millions of people living with diabetes the world over, as well as patients who are undergoing protein-based medical therapies. While the company is still awaiting FDA approval for the insulin capsule in the United States, investments and licensing deals with foreign companies have been plentiful.
· Sellas Life Sciences
Altium’s second addition to its new healthcare-focused portfolio was a 9.81% stake in Sellas Life Sciences, another established pharmaceutical company that has developed innovative technology with the potential to transform medical care for cancer patients. Sellas focuses on the development of cancer immunotherapies that may be applied to a wide range of signals indicating the presence of cancer. Sellas’ Phase 2 and 3 studies produced extremely encouraging results, earning the company a fast track designation for approval by the FDA.
Amarin is another innovative and rapidly growing pharmaceutical company headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, with offices in Bedminster, New Jersey. The company focuses on developing medications for cardiovascular health based on the potentially beneficial therapeutic effects of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Amarin has developed an effective, prescription-grade omega-3 fatty acid called Vascepa that was approved by the FDA in 2012.
Another company in the Altium Capital portfolio is Oragenics, founded in 1996 by two physicians focused on the concept of Replacement Therapy, or the concept of replacing harmful bacteria with beneficial bacteria for the purpose of achieving a therapeutic or beneficial result. Oragenics, in collaboration with Intrexon Corporation, Inc., is developing proprietary technologies and novel antibiotics that combat infectious disease and accelerating treatment development of biotherapeutics for oral mucositis, as well as other diseases and conditions affecting the oral cavity, throat, and esophagus.
Philanthropic projects in New York City
While in the process of winding down Visium and building up Altium, Gottlieb has also managed to put in some time to sort out and support his philanthropic interests and has donated both time and money to organizations that are focused on providing financial assistance for vulnerable and underserved populations. A native New Yorker who credits his successful career to a strong educational foundation, Gottlieb is particularly interested in supporting local New York City charitable organizations that provide educational projects and opportunities for the advancement and education of youth, particularly in the area of preparing kids for success in both career and life. Among the organizations that Gottlieb has supported are the Robin Hood Foundation, New Yorkers for Children, The Windward School, and the East Harlem Tutorial Program. Gottlieb has supported these groups by participating in major fundraising events that raised millions of dollars to benefit these local New York-based non-profit organizations.
Part 3: Investments Expanded and Explained
Sellas Life Sciences (NASDAQ: SLS) is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company. It focuses on developing immunotherapies for the treatment of a wide array of various cancer indications. Founded in 2012 and based in New York City, Sellas has recently gained much attention from investors after its shares jumped following its announcement from a Phase 2b study to treat one of the most rapidly spreading and aggressive of all cancers, triple negative breast cancer. The company used a combination of two drugs and showed that the therapy effectively reduced the risks of relapse and death by a little over 75%.
The most notable product candidate in Sella’s pipeline is a late-stage innovative Wilms Tumor Protein (WT1)-targeting immunotherapeutic that is designed to battle hematological malignancies as well as solid tumors.
Having found positive results with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and malignant pleural mesothelioma (APM), Sellas also has plans to begin a Phase 3 study. The firm is also currently tackling multiple myeloma and ovarian cancer by conducting Phase 1 and Phase 2 studies that are scheduled to advance to the clinic. The findings from these efforts also point to positive survival trends.
In order to achieve their vision, Sellas has partnered with the Nation’s top cancer centers and organizations such as the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, CordenPharma, PolyPeptide Group, Advaxis and Merck & Co., Inc. The company is also part of several clinical trials whereby it collaborates with establishments such as the National Cancer Institute and many more.
Oramed Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ORMP) is pioneering in the field of oral delivery solutions for drugs that are currently delivered via injection. It is a clinical stage pharmaceutical company whose mission revolves around the development of oral drug delivery systems. According to their website, oral drug delivery comes with several attractive advantages, including enhanced patient comfort and compliance, a reduced infection risk, easier application in pediatric medicine, first-pass metabolism preceding exposure as well its cost effectiveness. All the aforementioned have made the oral route of therapy administration into the most popular as well as preferred means of drug administration.
As such, Oramed uses innovative technologies in order to turn drugs that are otherwise available as injectables only into therapy that can be taken orally. The firm was founded in 2006, and its specific proprietary delivery platform, Protein Oral Delivery (POD) is the culmination of efforts of the leading scientists at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center over the last three decades. The design is such that it enables the technology to protect orally delivered proteins from degradation via enzymes in the gastrointestinal tract as well as increase absorption across the intestine wall.
Oramed’s proprietary flagship product is an ingestible insulin capsule (ORMD-0801). This revolutionary technology has completely changed the way diabetes is treated. The company is also working on designing an analog capsule (ORMD-0901) to the glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP1). Each product has yielded successful results following testing in both animal and human studies. The firm’s management team is highly experienced and brings to the firm a wealth of business and pharmaceutical experience. Oramed also has the support of several world-class scientific experts.
Amarin Corporation plc (NASDAQ: AMRN) is a rapidly expanding biopharmaceutical company that is taking on cardiovascular problems by both commercializing as well as developing drugs in order to enhance overall cardiovascular health. Amarin’s combination of its expertise in lipid science together with the potential therapeutic benefits of polyunsaturated fatty acids are what advance the company’s product development. In July of 2012, the FDA approved Amarin’s Vascepa (icosapent ethyl) which is the company’s first drug to be approved by the FDA. It is available via prescription and used to treat hypertriglyceridemia. It is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, and its US offices are located in Bedminster, New Jersey.
Amarin prides itself on its strong corporate culture as well as its commitment to establishing valuable collaborations. The firm’s proven research and development capabilities are evident in its successful completion of two pivotal Phase 3 registration studies. They are also in the late stages of a global CV outcomes trial that involves 8,000 patients across 11 countries and more than 400 clinical sites. Amarin’s regulatory team is experienced with a track record of supporting worldwide product registration.
The company’s commercial team is fully integrated, and it possesses the expertise to launch products across multiple therapeutic areas. Amarin team also has effective and established US-based Sales, Managed Care and Medical field teams. Lastly, together with the aforementioned, the company’s access to as well as relationships with world-renowned key opinion leaders as well as scientists in the cardio-metabolic space all make it a desirable collaborator.
Orgenics, Ltd. is a developer and manufacturer of accurate and safe diagnostic products for life-threatening conditions and diseases. The company also markets its products. The company, a subsidiary of Alere (formerly Inverness Medical Innovations), was founded in 1982, and it is headquartered in Israel. It has a patented product pipeline of rapid enzyme immunoassays for the detection of antibodies or antigens in human serum or plasma. Orgenics’ repertoire of offered diagnostic tests includes more than 25 kinds for diseases such as HIV and hepatitis and other infectious diseases, pregnancy and fertility, respiratory diseases, cancer, and cardiology diseases.
These products include ImmunoComb, a quick and easy to use test while providing high sensitivity and specificity. ImmunoComb’s assets make it an ideal product for decentralized clinical laboratories, field hospitals as well as remote rural areas. Orgenics’ other tests include DoubleCheck and GeneComb that are based on the same technique for viral detection as ImmunoComb. It also makes the BetaQuick pregnancy test. What makes Orgenics’ pipeline of products convenient is that their usage requires neither laboratory equipment nor medical training.
By making its products and solutions available to partners and customers in over 150 countries around the globe, Orgenics contributes to the increased awareness and early detection of HIV as well as other infectious diseases. Furthermore, by virtue of being easy to use, the products are utilized by the World Health Organization for HIV and AIDS detection in developing nations. Orgenics, Ltd. operates as a subsidiary of Abbott Laboratories.