Woodford’s empire crumbles. U.K biotech stays standing

As Woodford’s empire collapses, the U.K. biotech sector shows not even a ripple

Perhaps the greatest sign of robustness of the U.K. biotech sector is that it barely budged on the news this week of Neil Woodford’s demise.

Woodford’s struggles came to an acrimonious and swift end as the vaunted British investor shuttered the Woodford Investment Management firm on Oct. 15 after he was terminated as fund manager of his two largest funds and resigned from a third.

As the performance of his three funds -- the flagship Woodford Equity Income Fund (WEIF), Woodford Patient Capital Trust (LSE:WPCT) and Woodford Income Focus Fund -- waned and bad investments blew up, Woodford suspended trading in WEIF for more than four months, leading to his final downfall on Oct. 15.

The closures mark an end to a five-year run that started with exuberance at the prospect of a big name fund manager pouring billions of pounds into U.K. life sciences.

Woodford invested in more than 24 life sciences companies at a time when the wobbly U.K. sector was still finding its feet (see “Table: Woodford Investments”).

Table: Woodford investments

Woodford Investment Management participated in at least 34 financings for 24 biotech companies since 2014

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