Wang, Cunicelli, Huizing and Bower-Straziota see portfolio companies go public
From our Women's PE Briefs - week commencing May 3, 2021
A portfolio company of Deerfield Management’s Wang and UPMC Enterprises’ Cunicelli goes public
Werewolf Therapeutics, a portfolio company of Deerfield Management’s Elise Wang and UPMC Enterprises’ Jeanne Cunicelli, goes public. Werewolf, which is developing immune therapies for cancer, raised $120 million by pricing 7.5 million shares at $16 a share. It is listed on Nasdaq under the symbol HOWL.
Based in Cambridge, Mass., Werewolf has two lead candidates that are designed to selectively activate an immune response in the tumor microenvironment. It is moving toward conducting Phase 1/1b trials in patients in 2022.
MPM Capital was the largest shareholder prior to the IPO with a 20.75 percent stake. Deerfield owned 8.75 percent while UPMC held 5.48 percent. Elise joined Werewolf’s board in December and stepped down prior to the company going public. Jeanne as recently as last year also listed herself as a board member of Werewolf. The company currently does not have any women on its board.
Another company on whose board Elise sits, Terns Pharmaceuticals, went public earlier this year. The Foster City, Calif. company is developing a portfolio of therapy candidates to treat non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH, and other chronic liver diseases. Elise has been with Deerfield since 2010 and is a principal in the firm’s public structured finance group. She previously served on the board of Orchard, which went public in 2018.
Jeanne took over as president of UPMCE earlier this year. UPMCE is the innovation, venture capital and commercialization arm of health system UPMC. In 2020, she led UPMCE into SparingVision, which was co-founded by Florence Allouche. Jeanne joined SparingVision’s board and is also on the boards of BlueSphere Bio and Generian.
A portfolio company of Insight Partners’ Huizing and Vitruvian Partners’ Bower-Straziota goes public
Darktrace, which is led by Poppy Gustafsson and which is a portfolio company of Insight Partners’ Philine Huizing and Vitruvian Partners’ Sophie Bower-Straziota, goes public. The Cambridge, UK cybersecurity company went public on the London Stock Exchange at 250 pounds a share and was valued at 1.7 billion pounds. Darktrace has raised more than $230 million since its founding in 2013, according to Crunchbase. Its investors also include KKR, Summit Partners, TenEleven Ventures and SB ISAT.
Darktrace’s platform uses machine learning and AI algorithms to neutralize cyber threats across diverse digital estates, including the cloud and networks, IoT and industrial control systems. It serves more than 4,700 customers in more than 100 countries. For the fiscal year ended June 30, Darktrace reported a loss of $28.7 million on revenue of $199.1 million.
Poppy joined Darktrace in 2014 and has been CEO since 2016. The company’s board also includes CFO Catherine Graham and Vanessa Colomar, who is a partner and co-founder of Invoke Capital, Darktrace’s largest shareholder.
Philine is a vice president with Insight. Her portfolio also includes Ambassador Labs, Kasten, Pcysys, Kaseya, Veeam, Recorded Future, LiveAction and Automile.
Sophie, a partner at Vitruvian, leads the firm’s pharma services and software team efforts. Her investments include Phlexglobal, Pindrop, CFC Underwriting, CRF Health, TransferWise, OpenBet, RL360,Farfetch and Skyscanner.
Board member Natauri sees Flywire file to go public
Jo Natauri, a managing director within Goldman Sachs’ Merchant Banking Division, is on the board of a company that has filed to go public. Flywire, a Boston-based vertical payments company, is seeking to raise $100 million and list on Nasdaq under the symbol FLYW. The company reported a net loss of $11 million in 2020 on $132 million revenue. It raised a total of $263 million in funding.
Goldman Sachs owns a 6.7 percent pre-IPO stake. Bain Capital Ventures is the largest shareholder with a 15.5 percent pre-IPO stake. Spark Capital holds 14.5 percent, Temasek 11.7 percent and F-Prime Capital 7 percent.
Jo joined Flywire’s board in November. She has been the global head of health care within the Merchant Banking Division since May 2018.
Walker's Montes Archimedes Acquisition Corp. agrees to merge with Roivant Sciences
Montes Archimedes Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company whose co-founder and chief financial officer is Maria Walker, has identified a company to combine with. Montes has agreed to merge with Roivant Sciences in a deal that will give the biopharmaceutical and health care technology company an initial market capitalization of $7.3 billion. Roivant’s existing shareholders will own approximately 92 percent of the company.
Founded in 2014, Roivant has put more than 40 medicines into development across a wide range of disease areas. It has received two approvals from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Once the transaction is complete, Roivant will trade on Nasdaq under the symbol ROIV. The company will also receive up to $611 million in gross proceeds from the deal.
Montes, which went public in October, was sponsored by Patient Square Capital where Maria is a partner and chief financial officer. Montes is led by Jim Momtazee, who formed Patient Square Capital and previously led KKR’s Health Care Industry Group. Maria is a former partner at KPMG. She was at the accounting firm for two stints and a total of 17 years. She is a past speaker at the Women’s Private Equity Summit, which KPMG has been a longtime supporter of.
Grant's Day One files to go public
A company that emerged from the emotion that Canaan Partners’ Julie Grant felt about children facing multi-agent chemo has filed to go public. Day One, which Julie co-founded, chairs and for a time was CEO of, is seeking to raise $100 million and list on Nasdaq under the symbol DAWN.
Based in South San Francisco, Calif., Day One is focused on prioritizing promising new medicines that can be rapidly brought to market for children with cancer. It seeks to both acquire and develop new treatments. Day One acquired from Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. a potent, selective, oral, once-a-week, small molecule type II inhibitor of RAF – an oncogenic driver in a range of cancers including pediatric glioma and adult solid tumors.
Canaan is Day One’s largest shareholder with a 21.2 percent stake. Access Biotechnology and Atlas Ventures each own 16.9 percent. The three firms early last year provided Day One with $60 million in Series A financing.
Day One’s board includes Natalie Holles, who previously served as president and CEO at Audentes Therapeutics, Inc., and Saira Ramasastry, who is the managing partner of Life Sciences Advisory, LLC.
Julie, who founded the company with Dr. Samuel Blackman, owns 200,000 shares, according to the company’s SEC filing. She served as CEO of Day One between its founding in November 2018 and September 2020.
Julie also helped create Nocion Therapeutics, which is developing pharmaceuticals to treat an array of medical conditions, and invested in Synthekine, Inc., which is developing treatments for cancer and autoimmune disorders. Julie’s first investment at Canaan, Protagonist Therapeutics, Inc., went public in 2016 and another company she was involved with, Cellular Research, was acquired by Becton Dickinson.
Canaan last year closed its 12th fund at $800 million.
Alba's The Honest Company goes public
The Honest Company, which was co-founded by Jessica Alba, goes public. The maker of non-toxic baby, skin and household products raised $413 million by offering 25.8 million shares at $16 a share. It is listed on Nasdaq under the symbol HNST.
Jessica has served as the company’s chief creative officer since its incorporation 10 years ago and as chair of its board for the past three years. The Honest Company’s board also includes Katie Bayne, who is a senior advisor with Guggenheim Securities and a former longtime executive with The Coca-Cola Company, and Susan Gentile, who is chief financial and administrative officer at H.I.G. Capital Management.
H.I.G. is not an investor in the company. L Catterton was the largest shareholder prior to the offering, holding 37.5 percent of the company. IVP had a 13.9 percent stake, while Lightspeed Venture Partners owned 12.3 percent, Fidelity held 9.3 percent and General Catalyst had 5.1 percent. Jessica owned 6.7 percent.