Apollo Therapeutics Seeks to Build Drug War Chest With New Financing

Good day. Biotechnology companies often start out with a few compounds discovered in their labs. Apollo Therapeutics Ltd. has just raised $145 million to build its business differently.

U.K.-based Apollo formed in late 2015 and has more than 15 early-stage drug programs. Instead of discovering them, Apollo licenses compounds from universities. Then its internal team works with external contractors to develop them. This enables Apollo, which previously had raised about $50 million, to assemble a large and diversified portfolio and manage it with a relatively small team, an efficient model that reduces risks for investors, Chief Executive Richard Mason said.

Other biotechs have succeeded with similar strategies, including Roivant Sciences, which formed in 2014 to acquire drugs from other companies and develop them. Roivant, which says it has put more than 40 medicines into development for various diseases, agreed last month to go public by merging with a blank-check company sponsored by Patient Square Capital.

Patient Square has also led this new financing for Apollo, which will help it move drugs into clinical trials and widen its portfolio, which consists of potential treatments for cancer, rare diseases and inflammatory disorders. “We will test bold ideas and give them a run for their money,” Dr. Mason said.